Excerpt taken from Parenting.com:
The Reebok Foundation's BOKS program focuses on the benefits of physical activity before school to improve classroom performance and behavior.
Kids can learn all kinds of skills, from community responsibility to the arts, in after-school programs. But BOKS—Build Our Kids' Success—is a free, before-school fitness program aimed at getting kids moving in the morning so their minds are ready for a day of learning. Its mission is to promote the benefits of physical activity for mind, body and community.
"When kids love physical activity, they're going to do it for the rest of their lives," says Kathleen Tullie, BOKS's founder and a mother of two.
Building Kids' Success
BOKS is built on the simple fact that physical activity, especially before school, can improve both classroom performance and behavior. It teaches motor skills, functional fitness movements, teamwork and playing with kids of different ages.
"I had a special needs teacher say to me during a course, 'I've never had anything make such a difference in the lives of our kids,'" Kathleen says. "According to Dr. Ratey's book, exercise for 15 to 20 minutes at 60 to 80 percent of the normal heart rate has the effects of a small dose of Ritalin or Prozac. BOKS is mental medicine; it's preparing kids for a day of learning by releasing natural drugs in the body."
Each day, BOKS trainers guide kids through a 45-minute lesson plan that includes a running-related activity, a skill of the week and BOKS Bits, nutritional tips developed by Tufts Medical Center that kids can relate to and share at home. For example, kids learn about the sugar content of a serving of soda by comparing it to a stack of sugar cubes, and they learn how to easily determine whether foods and supplements are relatively healthy. The message is always positive: Foods are categorized as "super" or "sluggish" based on how kids feel after they eat.
"The simplicity of BOKS is what makes it so effective," Tullie says. "Anybody can become a BOKS trainer—whoever has the passion to make a difference in the lives of our children, from parents and teachers to nurses and custodians. All we need is one champion in every school."
More than 1,000 schools in more than 40 states and six countries are enrolled in BOKS. Besides the Reebok Foundation, it also receives support from MetroWest Health and The Boston Foundation and has partnered with organizations such as Partnership for Healthier America and Alliance for a Healthier Generation. BOKS has been endorsed by famous athletes, such as NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, and it was honored by first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative.
According to a BOKS satisfaction survey, 96 percent of kids say they want to come back for the next session.
Your school will send home forms to notify you when the program will be running and instructing you on the steps for registration.