A brisk break from work

Five-year-old Phoebe Crowther climbed and jumped through the twists and turns of a complicated obstacle course with great ease Friday at Valley View Elementary School.

She and other students participated in an all-day event that was made up of two massive inflatable obstacle courses and a series of challenges, including hopscotch, that were handwritten in chalk on the school grounds.

“It was awesome,” said Phoebe, a kindergartner. “I am little, but I am tough.”

The school’s foundation, which is made up of teachers and parents, set up the course in order to promote student health education, nutrition and fitness, said Amy Kitchen, the group’s secretary.

Parents were asked to donate money to the foundation, and local businesses, including Trader Joe’s, Vons and Albertsons supermarkets, donated water and bananas for the kids, she said.

Money collected from parents will help pay for the school’s music and art programs, buses for field trips, the Accelerated Reader Program materials, reminder binders and instructional materials, said the foundation’s treasurer, Sharon Vinceri.

Students were able to participate in the event even if their parents didn’t donate money, and parents were allowed to watch their children go through the course, Kitchen said.

“Kids are so used to sitting in class all day,” she said. “This gives them an event that’s outdoors and fun.”

Kindergarten teacher Jodi Fitzgibbons’ students were anticipating Friday’s obstacle course for two weeks and when they went through it, many wanted to do it again, she said.

“The kids love racing against each other,” Fitzgibbons said.

The course allowed her students to get a lesson on being fit and active, but also participate in friendly competition.

“It’s the perfect excuse to have a good time,” she said.

First-grader Rylin Gonzalez, 7, didn’t think the course was difficult, but said it was fast-paced.

“It was fun,” she said.

Rylin best liked “all of the jumping up and jumping down.”

But kindergarten teacher Dana Coffin said the course was challenging after she went through it with her students.

“We have all come here to let them let loose and to have fun,” she said.

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