From the Eagle’s Nest

Upper elementary teacher Lori Smith, Student Teacher Mae Yazzie, UE student Neeka Howe, and SunUte trainer Eliyah Lucero making plans on Zoom for exercises that will done with SUIMA’s Upper Elementary students who join their virtual PE class.

Exercise and physical activity give kids energy

Exercise! During this pandemic, we see many who have been walking, running, biking, and all sorts of ways to stay in shape.  But don’t feel guilty if you haven’t been. Life tends to “get in the way” and may make exercise become a drudgery instead of an enjoyment. 

We all know that physical activity gives kids energy, reduces body fat, decreases a child’s chances of developing diabetes, and builds muscle, bone, and joint strength. But physical activity also helps our mental state. If you have noticed your children arguing more, it may be due to lack of outdoor time.  Children who are allowed to be physically active during school have better behavior in class, they learn better, and they are less hyperactive. Now that we’re stuck inside, your children may be having more mood swings, be lethargic, or want to argue more.

Exercise not only reduces bickering; it can also help with child’s academic performance. For children with ADHD, activity is really crucial in helping keep their focus; and staying focused on the screen, where kids are spending so much time, tends to be even harder to maintain.

Providing opportunities for movement doesn’t have to involve expensive exercise equipment. Here is an idea: Write down exercises — i.e. 10 burpees, 20 jumping jacks, holding a plank for 30 seconds — on small pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Ask everyone in the family (yes, including parents) to grab a piece of paper and then do the indicated move.

Other ideas are to have your children try shooting baskets while spelling out words; do squats at their work area before the virtual class begins; or substitute a one-pound weight (or can of beans) for a fidget spinner. Another option is to piggy-back on what the teachers often do: Send them on a scavenger hunt to find items in your house.  It could be as simple as asking them to bring back something yellow, or a certain number of socks or utensils or to collect items that begin with a certain letter of the alphabet. Then, as a sanity-preservation measure, have a competition to see how quickly they can put all of the found treasures away!

It’s important to engage with your children. If they have buy-in, it makes the pandemic feel a bit easier to manage. When they feel like their voice is being heard, it makes exercise a more enjoyable experience.

The Montessori curriculum lends itself to intrinsic motivation. Exercise is more successful when it comes from within – intrinsically. In some cases, the development of intrinsic motivation may require some parental help. For example, if you want to take your children hiking, you might tell them that they can choose a place to eat lunch afterward. The hope is that they will enjoy themselves, and the next time you ask, they will remember the good time they had will want to go again. 


Marie Howe
Primary Guide/Teacher

For this edition of the Eagles Nest, our staff spotlight is on in on Primary guide/teacher Marie Howe. Marie grew in Ignacio, coming from a large family – she has nine siblings – and raised her daughter Shyida.    

When it comes to exercising, Marie knows the importance of exercising as she has to keep up with her grandchildren: Neeka, Tia and Reggie as well as many others that call her grandma.  Almost every year she can be seen with her grandchildren as they enjoy the Leonard C. Burch Memorial Walk.  During the snow filled weekends, she can be found sledding with friends and family. 

Marie has been working with children for 31 years, first at the Southern Ute Head start and currently at SUIMA.  Marie says the best thing about working with children is watching them learn.  And she offers this advice to them, “Take a journey and go to college.” 

Thank you, Marie, for being part of the SUIMA family.


Upcoming SUIMA events

  • No School (in lieu of conferences) – Friday, Feb. 12
  • No School (Presidents Day) – Monday, Feb. 15
  • PAG Family Night – Wednesday, Feb. 17 – Topic STEM

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