LU Students 'Use Their Noodles' For Head Start

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What happens when an honor fraternity with a fitness focus begins looking for a project? Anything can happen and it did. The Phi Kappa Epsilon (PEK) honor fraternity in the Department of Health, Athletic Training and Recreation (HARK) at Longwood University has spent the last two years raising money for hula hoops and pool noodles for the local Head Start programs. Last August they presented enough equipment for nine of the 21 area Head Start classrooms to fully participate in the new Head Start/Body Start curriculum developed by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. And the PEK students (under the leadership of President Courtney Daymude and Advisor Alicia Peterson) kept raising money; but other people in the department became involved too.

HARK Faculty members (Vonnie Colvin and Claire Mowling) worked with Meg van Trees, a graduate Health and Physical Education student to provide an in-service for all of the Head Start teachers and their assistants. Dr. Mowling realized that more materials were needed; so more people became involved. Her graduate class in Leadership in Health and Physical Education joined the efforts. These students created a 55 minute DVD that the Head Start teachers could use and the graduate students also created activity books and task cards to compliment the DVD. Everything was aligned with the Head Start Body Start curriculum and the Virginia Pre-K SOLs, which Drs. Colvin and Mowling have helped revise. To pay for this, the graduate students solicited donations and PEK continued to raise money.

Recently, some of the students went to Head Start and completed the project that was initiated two years ago. There were instructional DVDs, activity books and task cards for all 21 classrooms and enough hula hoops and pool noodles for every child in Head Start. That makes 366 hula hoops and 366 pool noodles!

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The PEK students and HPE graduate students are committed to the community and fitness for pre-school children. Beverly Conley from CDI Head Start said, “Thank you so much. I am so delighted that you and your students are a part of our Head Start Family.”