Assignment: Education – Y5210

The Y and the Onalaska School District Work to Create Healthy Lifestyles

Third Graders at Eagle Bluff Elementary in Onalaska work hard to exercise their brains and their bodies.

“Every week we have a video where we exercise and follow the teacher on the video,” said Dylan Skau, Eagle Bluff Elementary School third grader.   

The exercise video is part of a YMCA pilot program taking place in the Onalaska School District called Y5210.

The program  was created by a YMCA in Kentucky and focuses on the importance of eating five fruits and vegetables a day, having less than two hours of screen time each day, getting one hour of physical activity every day and zero sugar sweetened drinks.

“Each teacher was given a tool kit and that is based off of 12 weeks of lessons plans,: said Sarah Thompson, community wellness director for the YMCA.

Eleven third and fourth grade classrooms throughout the district started implementing the curriculum in January.

“It started out talking about different types of foods, different types of food labels and what that entails,” said Dustin Lovell, Eagle Bluff Elementary School third grade teacher. “And as we got into it more it started focusing a little more on the different physical activities and how you can use that at home.”


To reinforce this concept, students are also given take-home challenges which involves teaching the lessons they learn in the classroom to the adults at home. 

“The ultimate goal is that they’re maybe making some changes at home too so that they have another healthy environment that’s supportive of what they’re learning,” said Thompson.

One student says the lessons have gone beyond just learning healthy behaviors.

“I just like it cause it’s really… it just makes you let go of your stress,” said Skau.

So before a quiz or a test teachers like Mr. Lovell have the students practice a few exercises.

“We might do like one yoga pose before a test,” said Lovell. “Or we might do a stretch or do a couple jumping jacks or things we see in the video.”

And the students say they’re enjoying the lessons.

“It makes me feel good and it really stretches out my muscles if I’m going to go play with my friends,” said Skau.

The hope is that these healthy behaviors stick with the children and encourage children to make better choices.

“To start the program we heard some students saying we played video games this weekend or watched a lot of TV,” said Lovell. “And there was a noticeable difference as the program went through of listening to, ‘hey my family went out and did a hike this weekend or I went out and rode my bike around.’ And they actually did do that.”