Students in Kimberlie Johnson's physical education classes at Sierra Vista Elementary School no longer have to spend a lot of time standing and waiting for the equipment they needed to complete a class activity.
Thanks to an $8,000 gift worth of new P.E. equipment by the Madera County Public Health Department, students will remain active longer. The donation is part of a $1 million Healthy Eating Active Living grant that Kaiser Permanente invested in Madera in 2011, making a three-year commitment to help improve the health of the community.
"We saw the need," said Andrea Saldate of the Madera Public Health Department.
Saldate said the department had the money to purchase more than 500 pieces of new equipment.
"With our new equipment, we are able to have more students active for longer period of times," said Johnson adding that now students "won't have to wait around for a football."
She teaches physical education at five schools in the Madera Unified School District schools.
On Feb. 4, Johnson, showed her fifth-graders how to use the new equipment. The new equipment included bowling sets, footballs, different-sized playground balls, scarves to juggle and cones for relay races.
"We will be able to have all 65 of my kids moving at the same time," Johnson said.
Fifth grader Irene Giron was happy to have new equipment to use during her physical education class.
"I think it is much better with the new stuff," the 10-year-old Giron said. "The other footballs used to be flat."
No only will the equipment maximize the time of active physical education in class, but students will be expose to new activities beyond the typical soccer games and flag football scrimmages.
Johnson said her classes are now able to focus more on team-building activities.
"We had only one piece of equipment for about every ten kids," she said. Now, there is at least one piece of equipment for every two students.
"We only see our students twice a week for 50 minutes at a time, so we really want to maximize that time and make sure the kids are active," Johnson said.
Parents are excited about the new equipment and the fact that their children are now getting more out of their physical education classes.
"I think it's awesome. It's always good to see a smile in your child face," said Francisca Gutiérrez, who has a sixth- and second-grader at Sierra Vista.
Gutierrez said it would encourage students to be more physically active.
"This is their second home. It's a motivation for them to come to school every morning," she said.
Anita Ruiz, program coordinator for Madera HEAL Zone, said the program wants to make sure students "live a healthy life and be physical active."
"Our kids need more opportunities to be active," said Erik Lowry, school vice principal. He said the new equipment would encourage students to stay active.