NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A kindergarten teacher started a new program to get kids moving since opportunities for exercise in some Metro schools are low.
After becoming a teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Stephanie Legan quickly saw a need for kids to get exposure to physical fitness.
While working at Fall-Hamilton Elementary, she saw many students having only one PE class per week. Without a lot of funding for more PE teachers, Legan started showing children how to work out for just 10 minutes a day.
"What we do is the kids come down here, we turn music on, the kids they run, they skip, they walk," said Legan. "When we're done we go upstairs, we have a virtual tracking system. So, it's Timmy the training turtle is our mascot. And he runs around Nashville.... and when he stops we learn about the landmark and they get a prize."
Legan started exercising the kids after they came back to in-person schooling. The idea was a hit with the kids and the school's principal.
So, Legan decided to start a nonprofit: Move! Music City.
"It came to me during COVID. Like what are we going to need when we come back. We're seeing depression we're seeing rates of depression, we're seeing anxiety increase. Our movement is decreasing," said Legan.
So, every school day, the kids will run and move for about 10 minutes. Legan showed off the program with students from a first grade summer school class that was in her class the year before.
The kids said it was something they really looked forward to. They could interact with their friends. Legan said it focuses them for their day.
"I have kids come in and they're like, we're running, we're running, right? I even have kids come in and they've had a rough night or they're sad when they come in. We start moving and you see their mood lift right away," she said.
Legan said the beauty of her program is it can be run by teachers. She can show the teachers how to have the kids run and move for 10 minutes, thus allowing the program to expand district-wide.
Legan also gives incentives to the kids for doing a good job. Such as a sweatband or a notebook to take home. She's raising money for her nonprofit to allow other classrooms and schools to do the same.
With the nation facing an ever-worsening childhood obesity epidemic, Legan said this is more important than ever.