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Preschoolers Ran 500+ Miles at Clairbourn School

Published on Monday, June 10, 2013 | 2:59 pm

Proving that physical fitness isn’t just something for the big kids, Clairbourn’s youngest students, ranging in age from three to five-years-old, spent part of their recess time during the school year on fitness challenges. Their accomplishments are nothing short of astonishing!


Driven by a desire for her class to be more active, preschool teacher Ruth Beckstrom and classroom assistant Kyle Schaberg decided to act as role models and start a running project with the students. The idea was that everyone would run daily laps round the school’s athletic field so each student would eventually reach five miles. But, by the end of the school year in just 20 minutes a day, this class of ten students surprised everyone by running 4,153 laps for a total of 519 miles (not including 184 miles run by the teachers).

Persistence and goal setting were the keys to this grand accomplishment. When planning the project, students set personal distance goals for themselves. They kept track of the laps they ran each day and figured out how many more laps they needed to meet their goals. Every time the class and teachers went out to run, they cheered each other on and worked on persistence. They also graphed their achievements and used the chart as a motivational tool. P.E. Coach Mimi Devasto also got involved by awarding students paper tokens shaped like feet as they met their mileage markers.

The junior pre-Kindergarten class, comprised of three and four-year-olds, also got in on the fitness focus this year. Their teacher Jaime Hawks established a class goal to have them run two laps around the field twice a week to reach a total of 40 laps by the end of the year. They also spent time learning simple exercises from Coach Devasto and then made a class exercise video. When the video was set to music and fully edited, the students invited their parents to a video premiere to show off their achievement.

Clairbourn School, 8400 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 286-3108 or visit

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