February 13, 2016

Wellness Day at Parker


PARKERBob Ellis/staff photographer
TLC Emergency Medical Services education coordinator Danielle Binns works with Parker Elementary School fourth-graders while they were checking blood pressure Thursday during Wellness Day activities. From left, the students are Lillie Barber, Gage Burlingame and Iyanna Johnson.

Staff Reporter

Fourth-grader Gage Burlingame put a stethoscope on his heart and listened carefully.
Danielle Binns, education coordinator for TLC Emergency Medical Services, tapped her foot on the ground and asked if he could hear the similar thumping noise coming from the stethoscope.
With wide eyes, Burlingame said yes. Afterwards, he said he had never heard his heartbeat before.
Binns walked Burlingame and a group of four other students through how to take a blood pressure. She showed them how to find their pulse and said that it should feel something like a drum beating.
Binns was just one of a group of community representatives who gave presentations on health-related topics Thursday at Parker Elementary School’s Wellness Day.
Wellness Day is a daylong set of activities and lectures for students to learn about healthy habits, PrincipalKevin Yard said. The day isrotated each year among thefive Cortland elementary schools.
School psychologist Melissa Arthur, who organized the day with school nurse Julie Newman and social worker Linda Kirsch, said the program is a perfect opportunity for the school to strengthen relationships with the community, by bringing in guest speakers and presenters from the community. The day combines activities and classroom lectures — keeping students active even in the cold weather.
Barb Barnes, a retired school teacher from Homer, gave alesson on mindfulness. She practiced breathing and relaxation practices with allgrades. She discussed with fifth-grader how adrenaline works and how people process ‘fight or flight,’ reactions differently. A person can freeze up in fear — like during approaching state tests. So she gave test-taking tips and strategies, like a good night’s sleep and big breakfast and explained to students that half the battle is how they approach the test.
Activities lasted throughout the day. Nikki Zeches, a Zumba instructor and owner of Studio Z School of Dance in Cortland, had students practice different moves.
Zumba was one of the motion and movement activities, targeted to have kids get their heart rates up and help them understand how important exercise is for a healthylifestyle.
Wellness Day gives kid a chance to experience health in the community in a waythey might not otherwise encounter because they tend to play the same sports and activities as older siblings.


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