By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Doing warm-ups in the gym before heading outside to play basketball, tennis and jump rope is typical for third grade physical education (PE) class at Stocks Elementary School. In a departure from the norm, the students’ parents joined in the activity Wednesday afternoon.
PE teacher Corey Waugaman led the children and parents in jumping jacks and “scissors” stretches in the gym before the group went outdoors.
“Playing tennis with my mom” was Jeremy Catagnus’ favorite part of PE.
“It was fun. We got to spend time with each other,” he said. Catagnus’ mother Leslie said she enjoys playing baseball and tossing the football with her son.
“If you play with them, they’ll be more likely to do it,” she said. “I try to encourage him to go outside and play.”
Kane Outlaw described his mother Deborah Outlaw’s visit to his PE class as “pretty cool.” His favorite part?
“When me and her raced outside.”
“Anything that involves running, he loves it,” Deborah said. She said exercise keeps children “healthy and active and gives them something to do.”
“If they see you exercising, they’ll do it, too. It sets a good example.”
Chloe Peaden and her mother Tina jumped rope together and played soccer during Wednesday’s PE class.
“You need to be active in your child’s life. I think it’s very important that they know you’re interested in what your kids are doing,” Tina said. She plays with her daughter in their yard, doing everything from kicking the soccer ball to jumping rope to walking around.
“It keeps them healthy,” said Tina.
Patsy and Dennis Hudson enjoyed doing warm-up exercises with their granddaughter Kaitlyn Hudson.
“I liked it. I thought it was very nice. That way everybody gets to meet the teachers if they don’t already know them,” Patsy said. She and Dennis make an effort to support their granddaughter in her physical activities, even if it’s just going in the backyard with her while she’s kicking around a ball.
“We like that she’s active and we like that we can help out, too,” said Patsy.
The class was one of many classes participating in PE With Your Child Week at Stocks.
“It’s to motivate the kids,” said Waugaman, “If the parents come in, they (can) get them into something they typically don’t do.”
He said the week also allows the parents to “see what the kid likes to do, given the equipment that they have” and possibly give them ideas for things they could do at home. Jumping rope, for instance, only requires a simple piece of equipment, and the sport is making a comeback, said the PE teacher.
“Jump rope is the best cardiovascular activity there is,” Waugaman said.
Physical activity has been a focus of Edgecombe County’s recent health efforts, as the county combats high obesity rates (40 percent of adult residents) and lifestyle-related chronic illnesses.
The 2012 State of the County Health Report revealed that heart disease and cerebrovascular disease are the No. 2 and No. 3 causes of death in the county, and major contributing factors to those chronic diseases are lack of physical activity and poor nutrition. Developing healthy habits, such as exercising, at a young age, plays a role in preventing those health problems.
“I think 90 percent of it is probably interest,” said Waugaman, of engaging in physical activity. Exposure to different types of activities is another component, said Waugaman, and he exposes his students to everything from “survivor football” to simple activities like cup stacking.