For many adults, the combination of technology and children conjures up images of sedentary couch potato kids staring blankly at screens. But educators and children in West Texas and eastern New Mexico are literally jumping for joy when it comes to technology in their classrooms.
That’s because Covenant Health has teamed up with Nashville, Tennessee-based GoNoodle to bring movement and mindfulness videos that are trusted by teachers and parents, and loved by elementary-age children into the classrooms in and around Lubbock, Texas and Hobbs, New Mexico.
With silly, catchy songs like Purple Stew, Roller Coaster and Pop See Ko, GoNoodle videos help teachers make learning active by giving kids “brain breaks” that allow them to run, jump, dance and stretch, as well as practice moments of mindfulness right next to their desks. It’s a method that’s proven to increase academic performance, behavior and childhood health.
“Our partnership with GoNoodle is another example of our vision and commitment to improve the health of Lubbock County children and families, and is inspired by our Christian faith tradition,” said Covenant Health Regional Chief Executive Richard Parks.
Tackling childhood obesity
Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States, affecting one in five children and adolescents and putting them at risk for poor health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even still, in schools across the country, physical education and health education programs continue to be underfunded, with little to no budgets.
More teachers are trying to find creative ways to incorporate some form of movement into the classroom—after all, research shows physical activity in school leads to better cognitive performance, fewer behavioral issues and reduced stress and anxiety.
GoNoodle entered the marketplace about five years ago, and it was a movement that Covenant Health got behind in 2017, committing a total community health investment of $360,000 through the 2020 academic year. This decision was a direct result of a Community Health Needs Assessment that Covenant Health conducted, which identified childhood obesity as an area of unmet need in the region.
During the 2017-18 academic year, Covenant Health used these funds to underwrite the cost to bring GoNoodle videos to 83 schools, 1,892 teachers and 34,500 students in Lubbock, Hale and Hockley counties in West Texas. As a result of this partnership:
- In one year (2017-2018), all of the participants combined logged a total of more than 7,157,592 minutes of movement
- 94% of teachers are very or extremely satisfied with GoNoodle videos and games
- 97% of teachers have seen improvements in students’ amount of physical activity
- 86% of teachers agree their physical activity level has also increased
- 67% of teachers agree GoNoodle Plus is a valuable classroom resource
“Covenant Health’s strong commitment to wellness, prevention and the overall health improvement of children and families in West Texas and eastern New Mexico makes them an ideal partner for GoNoodle,” said KC Estenson, GoNoodle CEO. “At GoNoodle, we are on a mission to empower kids to be the best version of themselves. We do this by providing engaging content that helps them get much needed physical activity, while building the social/emotional skills necessary to make good decisions later in life. Through Covenant’s support and partnership, we are able to help put the promise of care into practice by touching the lives of more than 35,000 kids.”
Kayla Cole, a second-grade teacher at Waters Elementary School in Lubbock said, “GoNoodle has been a great asset for incorporating movement and fun into the classroom. Our kids love it! We appreciate Covenant Health's sponsorship to bring this resource to our students.”
Other teachers participating in the program also provided the following feedback:
“(GoNoodle) provides times to release energy and indoor recess time when we are unable to go outside … I also love it for times I need the students to settle down and focus. (The) videos help them to better transition from high energy to more focused activities” – Teresa, first-grade teacher at Wheelock Elementary, Lubbock Independent School District.
“I love using videos as (a) brain break, but I also use them to help the class focus again. I have seen my students use some of the breathing techniques taught on GoNoodle when they are stressed out.” – Chelsea, third-grade teacher, Highland Elementary, Plainview Independent School District
“I’ve seen improved listening skills (and) more organized movement. My students are able to stay focused longer.” – Candice, kindergarten teacher, Highland Elementary, Plainview Independent School District
“The students are engaged when we incorporate movement and songs into our learning. I hear them throughout the day singing educational songs from GoNoodle!” – Cassidy, kindergarten teacher, Ramirez Elementary, Lubbock Independent School District
“My students love to get up and move to the fun guided dance videos when they are feeling tired or wiggly. The breathing exercises are great for when we get done with something exciting and have trouble refocusing.” – Tiffany, second-grade teacher, Ervin Elementary, Lubbock Independent School District