More than 97,000 elementary students across northwest Ohio now have access to educational videos and programs to help them move, learn, and relax in the classroom, thanks to funding from Mercy Health.
The health system has provided funding for every public and private elementary school in nine counties to access the premium version of GoNoodle, which offers interactive education videos promoting movement and mindfulness.
Mercy Health and GoNoodle representatives watched fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students in Susan Schultz’s Birmingham Elementary School class on Wednesday dance along to educational songs and move their arms to form the letters of their spelling words or geometric angles.
“Some of them didn’t even realize they were learning stuff,” she joked to those watching the demonstration.
Mrs. Schultz, a special education teacher at the East Toledo school, said she first learned about the program from her daughter who used it in class. Mrs. Schultz said she loves the ability to personalize activities with students’ spelling words or to match other lessons during the day.
“It gives the kids a chance to get the wiggles out,” she said. “We can get our learning on as we get our groove on.”
GoNoodle also offers relaxation videos to bring students’ energy down again to prepare to return to other lessons.
“I like that we get to dance to get the blood pumping in our bodies,” said Khali Barker, 12. “It’s an awesome thing.”
Mercy Health-Toledo CEO Bob Baxter said the donation aligns with Mercy Health’s mission to invest in the community, starting with its children.
“The challenge that many of us see is that educators are trying to get so much crammed into the little bit of time they have with elementary kids,” he said. “If there is something that can help serve multiple needs, that’s what we saw with GoNoodle; that it creates physical activity ... but it also includes education.”
Mercy Health officials first saw the benefits of the program when partnering with schools in the Lima area, Mr. Baxter said.
The funding provides 249 schools in Lucas, Defiance, Fulton, Wood, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Erie, and Huron counties access to the premium version of GoNoodle for three years. Students also have access to the materials at home.
Jessica York, site coordinator for the after-school program at Delta Elementary School, said the program has been immensely popular.
“For the kids that are shy, it brings them together,” she said. “It's upbeat and uplifting ... and the kids love getting up and moving around and taking that brain break.”
Schools buying a yearly subscription on their own would pay $1,500, according to GoNoodle’s website. A free version is also available through the Nashville-based company.
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