The infrastructure improvements we have made to our Community Center floor have greatly enriched the programs that we offer in that room. Our goal from the beginning was to offer a larger variety of wellness and fitness programs. We here at Eatontown Recreation can proudly say that we have reached that goal.
Our existing programs such as Zumba have increased in the number of classes we offer. This then has produced more participants in these programs. Our Yoga and Low Impact Aerobic classes have doubled in the number of participants. We adhere this positive change to the fact that the floors are now more “fitness” friendly then our previous carpeted floors.
Challenges we faced were shutting down our programs for a short period of time to construct the floor. Another challenge has been to preserve the floor by not letting the chairs that are used during meetings to scratch the floors. After purchasing “gliders” for the bottom of the chairs, we believe this problem has been rectified.
So where do we see ourselves next you ask? Going forward we hope to add even MORE fitness/wellness programs to this building space. By always staying innovative, we are constantly looking for the latest fitness trends that could possibly lead residents into making the first ‘step’ towards a healthier lifestyle.
When you think of Summer Camp, you probably have something in mind such as children playing outside, sunny days, popsicles, and sprinklers. Pretty close, right? Well now paint this picture… children ranging from grades Kindergarten to Sixth grade enjoying a session of Yoga inside, sitting/posing peacefully while tranquil music plays. Not your average thought of Summer Camp, right?
Eatontown Community Center’s full day, eight week, Summer Camp decided to mix it up this year! The results? AMAZING! When putting together the Summer Camp calendar of events in early Spring, a few more active, fitness related programs were thrown into the mix. The initial suggestion of Yoga had mixed reviews. What if the children do not like it? What if they have trouble sitting still? What if they get bored? What if it is too hard? Putting all fears aside, the Eatontown Community Center decided to go for it and hired a certified Yoga instructor to teach classes throughout the eight week program.
Campers were introduced to a beginner’s yoga with tranquil music, peaceful lighting, and an instructor who showed Yoga can be fun and is great for your health! The instructor began class with more kid friendly poses in which she related them to animals and bugs. She mentioned that Yoga is fun and can be an awesome workout. In fact, anyone from NBA players to pro golfers practice Yoga to better their health or to optimize their skills. All fears were put aside as campers sat still, stayed attentive and engaged, and best of all left the first class eager to know when the next class would be!
Sometimes taking risks with programs is very much worth the reward. And even if we do not have future yogis on our hands, at least a new form of fitness has been introduced to these children that will be carried through the rest of their lives.
Candy or an apple? Ice cream or vegetables? Decisions, decisions.
Eatontown Community Center Preschool, as part of the Eatontown Recreation and Community Services Department, recently took a field trip to learn about healthier eating options. Believing that 3 and 4 year olds can benefit from smart food choices, the Eatontown Preschool visited a local grocery store. Stop and Shop® provides a Kid Healthy Ideas Program in which groups, starting at the Preschool age are toured around the grocery store to learn about different healthy foods.
The program focused on nutrition, our environment where food comes from, and overall wellness related topics. When children first arrived they were quizzed what healthy foods are. A tour was then offered throughout the entire store, aisle through aisle, in which healthier options were pointed out. Children were encouraged to ask questions. This grocery store made it a point to explain to the children that healthy eating choices can be easy and fun. Our preschoolers were able to sample fruits, vegetables, healthy grains as well as many other foods. For some, it was the first time they had such foods, as they asked excitedly for more. It was clear for most of the preschoolers that this was their favorite part!
Children were encouraged to go home and talk with their families about what they had learned on this field trip. Eatontown Preschool hopes that this program, along with lesson plans taught at the school, will provide an education for children at an early age. These baby steps (or Preschool steps if you will) are being made to help grow a healthier tomorrow.
Eatontown Recreation has launched a new program called the Golden Laces Campaign in which residents receive a pair of athletic shoe laces for free. In this campaign, residents receive a pair of “Golden Laces” when signing up and attending a class. The classes residents can choose from include a free historic walking tour as part of the “Be Historically Fit” program. Residents are given a map with historical landmark information that guides them through a self-guided historic tour through Eatontown. Other classes offered are Low Impact Aerobics, Parent & Me Yoga, Training for the 5K/Fitness Walk, Vinyasa Yoga, Women’s Tennis, and Zumba.
Eatontown Recreation believes there are many factors that lead to achieving wellness. The goal is to start a Borough wide initiative that can lead to a happier and healthier community. Eatontown Recreation wants to give away as many sets of shoe laces as there are residents. The attached pictures include the Eatontown Community Center Preschool receiving there Golden Laces after completing a Zumba class. Eatontown Recreation believes that these special laces will aid in town-wide recognition of our new wellness initiative, reaching all generations.
When the Eatontown Community Center Preschool first incorporated fitness classes into the curriculum back in 2012, they had no idea how much of a positive impact it would have on the program as a whole. During the Winter months, the ECC preschool teachers yearned for warmer weather to let their students outside to get there “wiggles” and “sillys” out. Being stuck inside is hard on anyone, but especially energetic, “jumping bean” children! That is when kids Zumba, better known as Kids Zumbatomic, was first integrated into the program.
Children are instructed to wear sneakers for the once a week Zumbatomic class. Using the building adjacent to the preschool, known as the Community Center, a certified Zumbatomic instructor teaches a class of about 30 preschoolers.
Days when the children have Zumba, a special energy is the air. The students come to school, knowing the fun is soon to come. Thirty tiny, smiling faces congregate in the Community Center and eagerly wait for the music to begin. First the warm up, followed by 20 minutes of dancing inspired by fitness and ending with stretching. Children bop, swerve, and laugh along to the music…some to the beat and others unknowingly out of rhythm.
What the children do not know is that just because they are out of the classroom, does not mean they are not learning. They exercise their fine motor skills while being exposed to different cultural music and dance styles, like the salsa and the mambo. Their “listening ears” are present as they must learn to follow directions from the instructor. The learning never stops outside the classroom! Most importantly, they are learning that fitness can be fun!
As the giggly, children sway and shimmy side to side, the goal of the Eatontown Community Center Preschool is encourage health and love of fitness for years to come.