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SMH PT Department Assists FLASH Program

The Physical Therapy Department at Stephens Memorial Hospital has recently teamed up with three teachers at the Agnes Gray School in West Paris to help implement a new and exciting exercise program called FLASH (an acronym for Fun Learning and Sports Health).  Principal Melanie Ellsworth and the MSAD #17 Administration support the FLASH program.

Studies have shown, heart elevating exercise improves learning and decreases behavioral problems.  There are already a number of communities nationwide that have programs like FLASH in place and have seen a positive impact on student test scores.  Teachers were interested but didn’t know how to implement the concept.  The SMH Physical Therapy Department offered assistance to help create the activities and then to train teachers.  Together they developed the FLASH program. 

Members from the SMH Physical Therapy Department have been spending three mornings a week at the Agnes Gray School working with the second, third and fourth grade classrooms helping teachers facilitate games and activities.  Each class spends thirty minutes participating in fun games to raise their heart rate before sitting down to learn.      

Lissa Merrill, Director of the Physical Rehab Department at Stephens Memorial Hospital says, “It was a real treat to develop the right kinds of games for 2-4th grade kids in West Paris.  The Agnes Gray School should be commended for their efforts with the 5210 and FLASH programs.  Together with the PT Department, they have taught kids great dietary habits and activity habits that will hopefully last a lifetime.” 

Cathy Bickford, whose fourth grade class is participating in the FLASH program shares, “The FLASH program has been wonderful as well as the staff from Stephens! My students have enjoyed participating in all of the activities. The games are designed to make exercise fun and that was accomplished. The kids even set up the FLASH games at recess and teach other students.  I have noticed a positive change in the classroom. After participating in FLASH my students are able to come into the classroom and focus on their learning.”  She adds, “This has been a great way to start the school year and we will definitely continue with the FLASH program throughout the school year.”



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