Zombies and witches flooded the playground of Madison Elementary School on Friday morning. But their takeover lasted only 10 minutes. They had to get to class.
The children took part in a special exercise program to prepare for their fundraiser, Madison Challenge. And Friday, they performed calisthenics, pretending to fly like witches and walk like zombies. The workouts better prepare them for learning, and they're good training for the Madison Challenge, an activities day that raises money for the school based on pledges made for each student.
"If they start moving in the morning, I can get their brains ready for school," said gym teacher Kimberly Hart. "And anytime I can get them to enjoy physical activity is good."
Hart stood on the stairs of the school with a CD player nearby. She pushed play and the kids started giggling and chasing each other around. Hart blew her whistle and most kids stopped in place. She led them through their warm-ups, demonstrating each. A couple of parents and teachers joined in.
"Fitness isn't just important for your body, it is important for your brain," said Sue Buswell, who has two children who attend the school. "They are having so much fun and it gets them ready for the day and educates them on what they need to do to stay healthy."
The program seems to be working, at least for Brianna Moore, 8, who is changing some of her habits because of what she is learning.
"I brought an apple for snack today," she said. "And I'm going to bring carrots when the apples run out."
Moore and her friends like to do push-ups - some even brought gloves to keep their hands warm. But they were disappointed the ground was wet, which meant there would be no push-ups. Moore plans to do some at the Madison Challenge.
To prepare for the up-coming challenge, the school partnered with Winona State University students and professors, who will lead the challenge activities.
The WSU students came to some classes at the school and worked with the kids to see what activities go best with what age group, said Madison Elementary School principal Judy Davis.
This is the third fundraiser put on by the school that has not required the children to sell items to raise money.
"This goes beyond regular fundraising and to another outlet to educate kids," Davis said. "They can learn to take control of their physical needs and their educational needs."