Students from nearly 250 schools throughout northwest Ohio will be able to take advantage of a series of online videos encouraging movement and calming exercises, thanks to a new initiative sponsored by Mercy Health.
Elementary school students across nine counties— Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca and Wood— will be able to access GoNoodle, an online program that teaches physical fitness techniques while encouraging skills development in other areas, like spelling and math.
Investing in children
Bob Baxter, CEO of Mercy Health, said that GoNoodle is a major boon for educators looking to find a way to add new elements into students’ days.
“GoNoodle helps educators provide in-school programming for their students and it also makes the day easier,” Baxter said. “It supports their educational efforts, and also brings wellness, exercise and mindfulness aspects that are so important into the classroom.”
Baxter first became familiar with GoNoodle a few years ago when he worked with Mercy Health at St. Rita’s Health Partners in Lima. There, Mercy Health sponsored the program in a three-county area, covering schools in Putnam, Auglaize and Allen counties.
“And what we saw, community after community, school after school, was just a high degree of appreciation for the access that it provided them, and the investment in the children. It was hitting on all cylinders, there was never a negative word about it,” Baxter said.
The success of the program near Lima inspired the expanded version of the sponsorship now being rolled out across northwest Ohio. Nearly 100,000 students will have access to GoNoodle’s materials over the next three years— and not just in the classroom.
“We were also finding out that not only were kids using it at school, but also taking it home with them to do the exercises with their parents and their siblings, because the access we provided allowed those kind of things to happen as well. So it’s not necessarily just in the classroom, you can use it at home, too.”
Getting kids active
Baxter said that in a time where people of all ages spend hours sitting at a desk, the use of GoNoodle to inspire youth to become more physically active while still learning is a gift that Mercy Health is glad to give.
“Just getting kids active during the day is a success. There’s a lot of studies that talk about the negative impact of being sedentary, and of being at your desk and in a sitting position all day long. So just getting up during the day, the more we can do that (in the classroom), the better it is for the kids.”