Calera Elementary awarded Be Healthy Grant

Calera Elementary School P.E. teacher, Shawn Nash, is purchasing new playground equipment through a Be Healthy Grant awarded to the school. (Contributed)

Calera Elementary School P.E. teacher, Shawn Nash, is purchasing new playground equipment through a Be Healthy Grant awarded to the school. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

CALERA— The students at Calera Elementary School will soon utilize new playground equipment after the school was awarded a $10,000 Be Healthy Grant through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

“I am very excited to get the playground equipment out there,” said physical education teacher Shawn Nash. “I am so excited for the students.”

Nash said she received information concerning several grants through an email, and she focused on the Be Healthy program. After reading about it, she decided to fill out the application.

While she could have selected a few different opportunities through the application—activity, community involvement or nutrition—Nash decided to focus on the activity portion.

Nash said the focus used to be on a child’s physical development, but now people are more focused on mental development. This can lead to students who aren’t able to sit still and fidget constantly in the classroom.

“What’s really happening to these kids is they are borrowing from their high brain to do low brain activities,” Nash said. “It all goes hand-in-hand, and if we can’t do the physical, then there is no way we can do the rest of it.”

To combat this trend, Nash said Calera Elementary hosted a professional development session called Brain Pump. They had a guest speaker talk to them about neuromotor connections to education and readiness for learning.

To encourage activity in the school, Nash applied for the grant seeking playground equipment. She said she would like to purchase balance beams for balance, tilt-a-whirl for spinning, kinetic twirl equipment and more.

About 50 percent of the grant will be awarded to Nash at the beginning of the 2016–2017 school year, so Nash can order the equipment. She said she will be awarded the remaining 50 percent in January 2017, after she’s documented her progress.

The school will be given a banner recognizing it as a Be Healthy School participant, and Blue Cross will present each student with a token of appreciation for their commitment to live a healthy lifestyle at the end of the school year.