École Barrie Wilson Elementary School has been keeping a few steps ahead in terms of children’s physical activity by encouraging their students to have a little more fun moving from class to class.
The ‘Don’t Walk in the Hallway’ initiative, designed by Ever Active Schools, has been popular at École Barrie Wilson for three years, but the school has recently acquired some fun colourful shapes to develop their program. Students are encouraged to hop, skip, jump and be creative in the ways they move down the hallway.
Chris Good, principal of École Barrie Wilson, said with a laugh the students aren’t moving through the hallway with chaos, and that there is still a no-running rule, but that this little bit of movement has been highly beneficial to the students.
“The hallway tends to be a very passive environment where students walk quietly in a line and we want to turn that passive environment into an active one. What we do is put patterns on the floor, with various shapes, either designed by students or staff. Sometimes those patterns are as simple as a hopscotch pattern, but the idea would be hopping, skipping or jumping through the patterns, and that increases the activity level as students move from class to class,” Good said.
“This is really a more natural representation of the way kids who are four, five or six move. When kids walk alongside their parents, they’re not walking in a straight, quiet line. They’re jumping over cracks, or hopping around and having fun. In some ways, this is creating a more natural way for the kids to move and they have a lot of fun with it.”
Good said the program has developed within the school, and has come quite a way from the initial tape patterns utilized three years ago when the idea came to École Barrie Wilson.
“There are more and more schools doing this now. Ever Active has done a really good job of creating access to this program,” he said.
“In the first year, we were just using tape and made our own patterns but now Ever Active has created a resource for teachers with the shapes and ideas on how to build the patterns. Instead of using tape to make it work, we’ve got re-usable tiles and shapes that we can utilize in our hallways.
He said the program is easy to access for schools and fun and beneficial to the students.
Physical Education Program Director Nancy McKeage said she’s happy to see the program still being implemented in the school.
“The benefits of having the extra steps between classes include an increase in time spent on-task because the kids have gotten some of their energy out and aren’t itching to move around the classroom,” McKeage said.
“Any chance you can have more physical literacy – a hop, a skip, a jump or other full-body movement- in a day, the kids develop more confidence in their movement and become better physical learners. This leads them to be more active in their future lives.”
She said students get very excited, especially when new patterns are put down, and that it makes her glad to know the kids are getting a few extra steps in each day.
“Mr. Good and I had both heard about the Don’t Walk in the Hallway program to help try and increase those steps taken per day and activity in students, so we thought it would be great to have in our school. The kids get very excited, especially when a new pattern is laid out on the floor and the kids get to be creative with how they move through the patterns each time they use them.”