The Ottumwa Courier

February 12, 2013

James school’s grant for indoor playground provides a ‘dynamic workout’

CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA —  Who found “fitness in the Railyard” Monday at James Elementary School?

That would be the school’s first-grade students.

The teaching staff decided a grant could help and ordered fitness equipment that could be easily moved from one elementary school to the next.

Emily Phommachack, the physical education teacher for students in grades K-5, said the school completed a grant to support balance and dance in the physical education classroom.

“The equipment takes up the entire gym and is very unique,” Phommachack said. “They can hone their physical skills, such as support, balance and dance. Besides that, it’s Heart Month.”

Railyard & Fitness is an indoor playground that provides a dynamic workout, according to  Phommachack. The equipment includes six or seven stations where the first-graders could run and hop from structure to structure. They could also do exercises in tumbling, balancing and dancing.

Jimmy Woods said he enjoyed climbing on the equipment and pretended he was high up and could jump in water. He also said he liked the “crab walk.”

For Keely Rupe, doing the “bear walk” along the planks was the most fun.

“It’s a great opportunity to work on so many activities in one place,” Phommachack said. “All ages can use it, and the exercise is challenging and simple.”

She also noted the students are “constantly engaged in physical education,” including dancing.

Some of the mats protect the kids as they roll to the next structure and then run to the next climbing area.

Phommachack said Railyard Fitness Course promotes physical education for life. High school students can use the course and so can college students.

“Adults can also find the equipment in some fitness centers,” she added.