PORTLAND– The WinterKids Challenge wrapped up its 5th year with a record number of students participating. 4,651 students from 30 elementary schools and 44 preschools across 11 counties took the WinterKids Challenge this winter, proving that active learning is not only fun—it’s effective and healthy, too.
The WinterKids Challenge brings creative, educational tools and ideas to teachers interested in engaging students in outdoor activity with an academic focus. By accepting the WinterKids Challenge, teachers in schools throughout the state agreed to take their students outside for at least three active lessons over the course of the winter. ”Students involved in the WinterKids Challenge are moving AND learning,” says Program Director, Marion Doyle. An additional benefit of active education is student focus. More than 83% of elementary teachers reported noticing students were more focused upon returning to the classroom following a WinterKids lesson.
“This year I conducted my first WinterKids lesson. It was amazing! I have found that I get caught up in all we’re required in the curriculum and have forgotten all the learning that can be done just by going outside. I’m very excited to be participating in the WinterKids Challenge,” said Anne Farrell, a teacher at Old Town Elementary School.
Each teacher participating in the WinterKids Challenge receives a copy of the WinterKids’ Guide to Outdoor Active Learning, which connects everyday academic lessons to outdoor physical activity. There is also a preschool edition, designed to engage Maine’s youngest students in outdoor activity with an educational focus! WinterKids’ staff offers training, materials, and support to the Challenge Schools throughout the season. The feedback has been very positive, both from teachers and students.
“When my students see ‘WinterKids’ on the daily schedule, they are excited and can’t wait to see what the activity is and of course BE OUTSIDE!” said Sherry Young, a teacher at Ellsworth Elementary.
WinterKids is the nonprofit organization that helps children develop healthy, lifelong habits through fun, outdoor winter activity. The organization delivers innovative outdoor programs for families, schools, and communities. WinterKids’ Major Community Sponsor is Hannaford. WinterKids’ Supporting Sponsors are TD Bank and L.L.Bean. Learn more at WinterKids.org.