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Fit To Be Taught, Vol. 61

Taking JayJo to School


When Kim Gosselin's young sons were diagnosed with serious medical conditions, she searched for materials that would help the boys' friends and classmates understand what having asthma or diabetes was all about. She couldn't find good, child-friendly material, however, so she went to work herself. Gosselin started JayJo Publishing -- named for her two sons -- and published She went on to write more than a dozen books that reflect her passions for increasing understanding and promoting tolerance of children with chronic illnesses.

"At the time of their diagnoses, my boys attended kindergarten and preschool," Gosselin told Education World. "I wanted desperately to explain their medical conditions to their classmates to help promote understanding and acceptance. Unfortunately, the simple, non-technical picture books I hoped to find were not available. From that moment on, I was a mother on a mission!"

Since Gosselin started JayJo Books and published her first two titles, she has written more than a dozen books that reflect her passions for increasing understanding and promoting tolerance of children with chronic illnesses. Those books provide teachers, parents, and school nurses with the tools for promoting among children an understanding and acceptance of other kids' health conditions.

Gosselin also developed Special Family and Friends, a series of books designed to help children understand conditions that might affect the adults in their lives. That series includes

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New P.E. Stresses Fitness for Life

In the last four years, significant progress has been made by the Spokane (Washington) School District in restructuring the fitness and health curriculum. Following an initial program review, an overarching goal was developed: to provide a developmentally appropriate, integrated fitness and health program implemented equally for all students to help them to move toward a self-directed wellness lifestyle. Instead of the old P.E., the program is now based on teaching students how to make healthful choices in nutrition, exercise, and life. The program serves about 30,000 students.

By employing heart rate monitors, fitness centers, and meaningful curriculum, this program has changed the culture of physical education classes in Spokane schools. Fitness for the individual, not skills development, is now the goal for these classes. All students can now enjoy the chance to address their own fitness needs at the rate and the level that best suits them. Students no longer are intimidated by learning skills that only the top athletes could master. Students are now taught why they need to be fit, are allowed to do appropriate fitness activities, and are given immediate and long-range feedback regarding their own fitness progress.

School staff members do yearly fitness tests with all students that are enrolled in fitness and health classes. Individual fitness reports that include the students own goals are sent home every year. These reports show students individual progress as well as the average fitness levels for other students of the same age in the district and in the nation.

Read more about this program at: Spokane Fitness and Health .

Click to learn more about Action for Healthy Kids.

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