Elementary schools across Alaska are getting ready to cheer on thousands of Alaska kids as they jump, run, dance and play — all at the same time, all across the state.
They’ll be participating in the first-ever PLAAY Day.
PLAAY is not spelled wrong. It stands for Positive Leadership for Active Alaska Youth. It’s an effort organized by our partner, the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame
, to help community leaders improve how they work with Alaska’s youth on physical activity, health and wellness. PLAAY Day is set for Thursday, Feb. 23. Schools and groups across Alaska will organize a half-hour session at 10 a.m. when students in elementary schools will get up out of their seats and get moving.
Children will get together in school gyms, classrooms, outside, or in recreation centers. Students from the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation will join athletes to lead the kids in an organized — and synchronized — fun session of physical activity. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and GCI will link all of these children in different communities through a free, live videoconferencing session. Communities that are not able to access that live session will receive a recorded video of the physical activities that they can use to participate in the Feb. 23 event.
“We know the benefits of physical activity,” said Harlow Robinson, executive director of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. “It is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve a child’s self-worth, which in turn empowers them to recognize they can make active choices for improving their health.”
Physical activity is linked to an increase in concentration and focus at school, improved classroom attendance and behavior, better academic performance, and improved overall health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. PLAAY Day will help Alaska kids get closer to the national recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity needed every day
for the best health. It will help children complete the February Healthy Futures Challenge
, when kids across Alaska will be logging their daily physical activity through logs distributed at elementary schools. PLAAY Day is also an activity that goes toward addressing SB 200
, the new Alaska law requiring schools to provide almost one hour of daily physical activity for all students in grades kindergarten through 8.
Last year, the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame helped organize the first PLAAY Summit focused on improving youth’s health. This year, the PLAAY Day physical activity event at Alaska schools on Feb. 23 will be followed by the PLAAY Summit on Feb. 24 and 25 in Anchorage at ANTHC. The Summit will feature experts from around the state who will help teachers, parents, nurses, coaches, administrators and other leaders address many areas of youth and adolescent health, including psychological, social and emotional development. The PLAAY Summit
also will focus on physical activity as a way to improve health.
Partners of the PLAAY Day and PLAAY Summit include Healthy Futures; ANTHC; the Children’s Hospital of Providence; the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Health, Physical Education & Recreation; the Chugach School District; GCI; the Anchorage School District Department of Health and Physical Education; Play Every Day; the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services; King Career Center, and others.