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Advice from a Successful Program - Roosevelt Elementary

Advice from a Successful Program - Roosevelt Elementary

Coach Shawna Gunwall of Roosevelt Elementary School in Salinas gives the following advice.

The kids really enjoyed running and the running program and usually kept their enthusiasm up by themselves. I only did a few things that seemed to keep them motivated and a bit surprised. Once every couple of weeks I would mix things up on the track by making them go the opposite direction than usual.

To keep track of their laps I would use a washable marker and "dot" the top of their hands until they completed all the laps required for that day. They seemed to like markers that had letters or numbers on them.

We also had the children and parents sign a "contract" stating that they could only miss so many practices or they would be dropped from the team. We had our own team shirt made and I didn't actually drop any child for missed practices, but I did not give them a team shirt if they missed too many practices.

On days that were particularly hot one of the moms brought a couple of spray bottles. Every time a child passed two spots on the track they ran through an invigorating shower of water. They really LOVED that one.

I also gave positive rewards for great participation. The kids that didn't miss more than 3 practices received a special lunch party. It was inexpensive and it gave them a goal.

In the end I think what motivated them most was knowing that they were aiming at a goal race associated with the Big Sur Marathon and so many other kids would be running as well. And that it was such a large event. They talked about crossing that finish line for weeks before and for weeks after. I had so many ask me afterwards if we were going to continue running practice during the Summer for next years run. That showed me that running was burned into their souls and that they actually enjoyed it! Nothing could make me prouder!