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Canadian school starts off days with dance

February 7, 2012 1:45:12 PM PST
Getting kids to settle down and focus for school can sometimes be a lot easier said than done. Now, one school in Canada is trying a new approach.

School begins each day not with hitting the books, but instead with an activity that lets kids blow off some steam.

Each morning, hundreds of kids show up for school full of energy and eager to talk to their friends and classmates. Last year, the school allowed them to walk each morning, hoping to work off some of that restlessness. That's still happening. But the vice principal says now dance classes are also an option.

"We decided to shake it up a little bit, so this year we've been doing zumba," Sharon MacCoubrey, the vice principal said. "And more recently, the children have been doing break dancing in the gym...And you can see, they're busy, they're active, they're on the move. We find it's a great time to socialize and also get the sillies out before they sit down and get ready to learn."

And the teachers say the exercise is making a difference, improving concentration in the classroom. The walking and dancing also means the kids are more active and burning more calories.

"It means the children are walking five kilometres more each week, which already a bonus," MacCoubrey said. "It also means that they're moving those core muscles and getting active, and sometimes even break a sweat, so that's a good too.

To help make it happen, the school recruited a former student who is now part of a break dance crew called Groundwork Sessions.

Some of the older kids start to pick up the hip hop moves. For the younger ones, it's more of a free for all.

"So the first day I came here, I didn't really know what to do, so I was doing a normal kind of warm up," Riley Simpson-Fowler, one member of Groundwork Sessions said. "And then I was kind of like, I was freestylin it. I didn't really know what to do, but it worked out. I'd be so down to come back though, all the kids really like me I think."

After the morning jam session, it's time for the kids to head to class to give their brains the workout their bodies just had.

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