Success Stories: Classroom Activity Improves Fitness

Recess and P.E. class are great ways to get kids active at school. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, memory, and classroom behaviors. Unfortunately, the majority of students across the country don’t get daily recess or physical education.

Teachers at Vaughn Elementary in Frisco, Texas are making great strides to change this and improve student fitness. Now in their third year of the Healthy Zone School program, the school has incorporated 15 additional minutes of recess or physical activity into their day. 

“Students have really enjoyed this time,” said physical education teacher Jennifer James. “It is important for students to be able to move and not just during their 30 minutes of recess time. I am so excited to see how this impacts all of our students in a healthy way.” 

Making Physical Activity Fun

The emphasis on classroom activity is part of a new school-wide policy to increase the amount of physical activity among students during the school day. School leaders brought youth fitness expert Curt Hinson, widely-known as Dr. Recess, to their school to teach students age-appropriate games and activities to enhance recess time. Funding from the Healthy Zone Schools Program allowed the school to purchase equipment packs and videos from Dr. Recess to optimize recess time for years to come.  


Students learned the games during two assemblies, one for kindergarten through second graders and another one for third through fifth graders. This allowed the students’ time to demonstrate the activities in an instructional setting so they can replicate them during recess. 

“I just love all of the new games Dr. Recess taught us. I am excited about recess again!” said a Vaughn Elementary student.

Creating a Culture of Health

The Healthy Zone School Program is designed to help schools identify their needs and create a sustainable culture of health. School leaders and teachers set out to increase the amount of daily physical activity because they understand that fitness can help students succeed in and out of the classroom. They wisely invested their Healthy Zone School funding in an activity program that will help students stay active in a fun, engaging way for years to come. 


Written by The Cooper Institute

The Cooper Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1970 by Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, to promote life-long health and wellness worldwide through research, education and advocacy. By improving public health, The Cooper Institute helps people lead longer, healthier lives now and #WELLintothefuture.