Lowe’s grant will keep students ‘on the move’



Kinley Hughes


On Wednesday, May 25, Bel-Aire Elementary School received a $5,000 grant from the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program to help students get up and move during classroom time.

“Lowe’s Toolbox for Education provides grants to communities and schools all over the nation and we received $5,000 to work with our Bees on the Move (program),” said Coordinator for School Health Director Gina Bumbalough. “The money is for movement mats.”

Bumbalough said individual teachers will have autonomy in how the movement mats are used, but she hopes they will be used on a daily basis.

The grant money will be used to help fund the so-called movement mats, which are educational and recreational mats that feature different games that are both intellectual challenges and physical challenges for students.

Lowes Assistant Store Manager Eric Campbell presents Principal April Norris and Coordinated School Health Director Gina Bumbalough with a $5,000 Toolbox for Education Grant. –Photo by Kylee Norris

“They applied for the grant through Lowe’s corporate office,” said Campbell. “Last year, we did Farrar (Elementary School). We got a grant for $2,500 and we spent that rebuilding a deck for Farrar. For this grant, Bel-Aire did all the leg work. They applied and it was granted.”

The goal of the movement mats are to get children up and moving and out of their seats while still learning in their classrooms.

A number of children participated in a presentation of a game involving one of the larger mats whereby correctly solved equations allowed them to jump to the answer.

“If we can increase 30 minutes of movement a day, then that’s going to lead to better retentions, less discipline and it’s just a good program,” said Bumbalough.

“It goes to the things involved in the actual program, and this is literacy, as well as math, and there is also vocabulary that is used. The mats are not a one way to do everything.

“Kinesthetic learning is a way to engage the brain, and anytime you engage the brain then you’re going to have better learning. It’s a way to get them up and moving in the classroom, plus any movement that you do, with childhood obesity being at an alarming rate, it helps them get up and moving,” she said.

Each teacher will have the freedom to dictate what games are played with the mats and can even create new games in addition to the established ones.

“If the kids are having fun, they are going to learn,” said Bumbalough.

Kinley Hughes can be reached by email at tnrept09@lcs.net.

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