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Early Open Gym A Success At Hawthorne

March 5, 2014, 5:58 PM by Matt Holsen

Early Open Gym A Success At Hawthorne
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Students at Hawthorne Elementary in Sioux Falls are getting out of the cold and into the groove before school.

"I like when they put on One Direction because that's my favorite song," student Presley Vanmaanen said.

The early open gym that features dancing, as well as other exercises, is the brainchild of physical education teacher Jamie Parish. He's currently working on a degree and is focusing on how exercise affects the brain. 

"Activity helps your brain. Helps the kids to sit down and to concentrate. So what we've started doing since about Christmas time, we opened the gym every morning at 7:30 and let the kids come in and do some exercising for about 25 to 30 minutes to get their day started," Parish said.

Teachers say dancing before class helps students pay more attention during class.

"There's been a lot of positive reports from the teachers those kids come in a little more focused and a little more ready to go and a lot more smiles on their faces," Parish said.

Students aren't the only ones who like to dance but that's not the only activity that goes on here. Teachers, volunteering their time, have also introduced kids to yoga and zumba.

Matt Holsen: Now what would you normally be doing if this wasn't going on?
Presley: Probably be bored outside.

"It's been a big hit. The kids love it," Parish said.

Kids aren't forced to take part in the open gym. Many come up to participate after eating a light breakfast in the cafeteria.

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