Students at East School and Forbes Schools are growing their own gardens. They participate in all aspects of planting, growing, harvesting, and preparing nutritious seasonal produce. During the summer months, parents and students continue maintaining the gardens and sharing the benefits of having fresh produce that they’ve grown themselves. Garden Coordinators work with the schools to help the students learn about the connection between everyday food choices and the health of the community, the environment, and themselves. These lessons foster sound nutritional practice, responsible food choices, and environmental stewardship. The more the kids are involved, the more likely they are to eat healthy.
A School Garden program offers students place-based experiences that impact their understanding of food, health, nature, and community. Successful garden programs can improve test scores, fight childhood obesity, promote physical activity, expose kids to healthy foods, change eating habits, and provide positive connections to nature.
Schools can develop garden programs using installed built gardens, indoor or outdoor containers, or through relationships with nearby community gardens or farms. However, in order to be successful, a school garden program must have sustained support from the school community, become an integral part of the curriculum, and be a source of relevant learning experiences for all students. The Edible School Gardens program continues to be a part of Torrington’s public schools as a result of grants from Fit Together and Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities.
If your community is interested in learning more about the importance of edible school gardens, more information is available at these websites:
Common Ground: High School, Urban Farm, and Environmental Education Center: http://commongroundct.org/environmental-center/school-garden-resource-center/
Nourishing Gardens: http://www.shc-ct.org/nourishing-gardens.html
Connecticut School Garden Network: http://ctnofa.org/School_Resources.html
Tower Gardens; A unique vertical garden system that makes it easy to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. www.towergarden.com
High school athletes start out as elementary school athletes or middle school athletes. But sometimes those burgeoning athletes need a little bit of encouragement to find their legs, and more importantly perhaps inspiring an active lifestyle in students who may not be natural athletes. Rod Dixon’s KiDSMARATHON program provides an opportunity for those elementary and middle school students to get active, and it’s a great chance for high school athletes and teams to serve as inspiration and mentors to young kids.
KiDSMARATHON is an 8 week training program that enables kids to complete a full marathon by running incremental distances each week leading up to the finish in front of hundreds of fans at regional celebration sites at the end of the school year. Olympic Medalist and New York City Marathon winner Rod Dixon is the founder of KiDSMARATHON. Dixon has implemented the popular program in several states and as far across the globe as New Zealand. During the project, elementary students ages 7-12 develop life-long fitness skills, social-emotional learning, a feeling of accomplishment, and self-confidence. The mantra of the program is “Finishing is winning and winning is finishing.
The 2015 KiDSMARATHON programs are underway, with the culminating events scheduled throughout Connecticut beginning in mid-May. This is a great chance for your student-athletes to get involved and make a difference with young students and in their community. Take a look at the upcoming events and the schools participating and see if there is a school to which you can reach out and serve as volunteers. The culminating events are tremendous celebrations of accomplishments by these young participants and having your teams take part will only add to the experience.
Click here for more information about KiDSMARATHON on the Connecticut Association of Schools website.
WATERBURY — An annual event that thousands of kids across the state look forward to has officially begun.
The Rod Dixon Kids Marathon, named after the olympic athlete, is a 12-week program that encourages kids to eat right, get exercise, and think positive.
“It allows them to take ownership of something,” said Jason Martinez of the Kids Marathon Foundation. “Each day the kids come out and relationships are formed when they run, we’re bringing the community in together. Every elementary school in Waterbury is participating in this program.”
The program has chapters across the country and organizers praise Waterbury’s leadership for helping the program grow to include thousands of kids.
Watch the Fox News video here.
Runner Rod Dixon returns to promote fitness for kids
BY JOHN MCKENNA REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
A sure sign of spring locally is the sight of running legend Rod Dixon making the rounds at elementary schools to promote his Kids Marathon program, and stressing the importance of physical activity and healthy eating habits.
Dixon, winner of the 1983 New York City Marathon and a bronze medalist in the 1,500 meters in the 1972 Summer Olympics, visited East School and Forbes School on Friday to help students get their Kids Marathon experience off to an energetic start.
Over the next nine weeks, students on their own and during school will attempt to run 26.2 miles — the distance of a marathon — as they work to improve their fitness while watching what they eat.
Students from the two schools, as well as Southwest School, Vogel-Wetmore School and several other elementary schools in Litchfield County, will descend upon the Plumb Hill Playing Fields on June 13 in Litchfield for the Kids Marathon grand finale. That’s when they run the final mile of their marathon with Dixon on an oval track.
Kids Marathon started in 2008 in Litchfield, where Dixon has many friends, and has blossomed across Connecticut, as hundreds of schools have jumped on board.
“We’ve reached a point where we can approach a school district and say this is what we’ve been doing and this is what we want to do,” said Dixon, a native of New Zealand. “We used to have to explain our dream. After eight years, we have results. Now it’s about changing the culture.”
Dixon has introduced Kids Marathon in other New England states and has been hugely successful in bringing the program to schools in Southern California, where he lives.
The event at Plumb Hill Playing Fields will be the ninth and final gathering of involved schools at designated locations across the state. Thousands of students have signed up for Kids Marathon. They’re not only using Dixon’s training principles as a guide when they run, but they’re also trying to eat more fruits and vegetables while avoiding soda and other sugar-filled drinks.
“Kids are locked in and it shows,” Dixon said. “They’re coming back year after year and they’re feeling positive about themselves.”
Dixon was joined on Friday by Bill Burgess of Litchfield, president of the board of directors of the Kids Marathon Foundation. He’s also president and executive director of Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities, formerly Litchfield Hills Food Systems.
Burgess has been instrumental in the spread of Kids Marathon across the state. He has used his contacts to open doors at the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, two major supporters of Kids Marathon.
The four Torrington schools, Litchfield Center School and Litchfield Intermediate School now have use of the Lap Tracker, a hand-held device allowing teachers to record the number of laps students are running, be it in the gym or outdoors. Grants from the Kids Marathon Foundation, Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities, Fit Together and the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut funded the purchase of the devices.
“Forbes (School) was the test pilot for Lap Tracker last year,” Dixon said. “It went so well that we decided to introduce it to the other schools this year. It has added an element of accountability because now the schools have exact data on how much every student is running. The kids can see how much their friends have run and know they have to run to keep up.”
Dixon was at the school to promote Kids Marathon’s mission of increasing the activity levels of elementary school students.