Our school district just announced it is closing two elementary schools. It's not because of low attendance. It's because we do not have the money to keep them. This will have a big impact on all of the kids and most of the families.
Closed Schools : This is going to up the average bedroom size from kindergarten through sixth grade. It's going to decrease the effectiveness of the teachers because they will have to spend more time keeping the class in order and will have less time for teaching. The children will receive less personal attention and it will cause problems with some when it comes to report card time.
On the playground it means more children for the adult supervisors to watch. The number of children who are required to sit instead of play will increase because there will be an increased time to get to those misbehaving.
Art and Music Gone : There are not many studies on how art might prevent weight gain but there are a few on music. Music calms the human brain and decreases stress hormones. Ten minutes a day could be vital in childhood obesity prevention. They are not getting it at school anymore.
Physical Education : Believe it or not some schools have actually cut out PE We know our children need exercise but the schools are slowly moving to end it during classroom time. Whether it's budget cuts or insurance problems this is going to have an impact on our children both in learning that exercise is important and in preventing childhood obesity.
What Can We Do ? We may not be able to put all of these programs back into our schools but we can bring them into the community. There may already be programs set up but they could probably use volunteers. If you have knowledge or talent to share, talk to them.
We can also work with our own children. Even if you can not play an instrument you can introduce the kids to all sorts of music. The wider the variety the better. We can encourage them to draw, water color or work with play dough. We can take them out for a bike ride, go to the park and shoot some hoops and otherwise get them moving.
Those things will do something else that will help with adult obesity. The things that we are doing with our kids give us exercise. It also teaches our children that these are not just things kids have to do. Adults have to do it as well. It sets a life long pattern.