Grantee Blog 2020


Eleanor G. Hewitt Students are super excited to get started this fall with the walking classroom materials. The walking classroom will provide our teachers with the opportunity to take lessons outdoors. This could not come at a better time, as Covid-19 is still causing challenges for our education system. This program will provide students and teachers with an innovative way to get exercise without sacrificing instructional time, by providing an opportunity to have “in-school” instruction outdoors while social distancing.  It is an evidence-based Walking Classroom that gets elementary students walking, listening, & learning with standards-based podcasts aligned with curriculum content. The program’s “Walk, Listen, and Learn” methodology capitalizes on the favorable link between exercise and cognitive function

The Walking Classroom program is simple: Students take brisk 20-minute walks as a class while listening to the same custom-written, kid-friendly podcast that comes preloaded on their WalkKit (audio player) or via our new mobile app. Each podcast begins with a brief health literacy message and includes a character value woven throughout the narrative. The lesson plans and quizzes in the available Teacher’s Guide help educators effectively discuss and review the podcast material. Aligned to state standards, the podcast topics are appropriate for students in grades 3–8. Podcasts topics include English language arts, social studies, science, and more.

Research has shown there is a positive link between exercise and cognitive function. Students return to the classroom with improved moods, more focus, and more likely to actively participate in post-walk discussions. Inactive children and children with low academic achievement stand to benefit the most.

To start we have purchased 30 walk kits for use by our 5th graders, but there are plans to expand this program to include the other grade levels! And what better place to have this classroom than on our very own Hewitt Path the Wellness.  It really seems as though our plan is coming together!

This work is supported by funding from the Atlantic Health System as part of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.

About the Grantee

Borough of Ringwood

Our team is made up of employees from the Ringwood Health Department, Recreation Department, Public Works, and the Ringwood Board of Education.