Spyridoula Vazou, Associate Professor, Kinesiology at Iowa State University
1. What is your role with SWITCH?
My research and teaching experience is on helping teachers integrate physical activity in the elementary classroom. Therefore, I was in charge of developing the SWITCH Classroom module and contributed to the development of the SWITCH PE warm-ups (some work great as classroom activity breaks too!). I have also developed the SWITCH online community of practice to facilitate interactions between ourresearch team and the SWITCH school members as well as between the SWITCH schools.
2. How did you get interested in the area of health/school wellness?
For me, health and school wellness means seeing children be happy and enjoying what they do. As a child I was physically active all the time, as a swimmer but also at school. In Greece (where I was born and raised), we had about 10 minutes of recess every 45 minutes! As an adult (researcher, teacher, parent), I am passionate about examining how youth can be motivated to be physically active throughout the day and contributing as much as I can to their wellness.
3.What tip would you give to parents to help integrate SWITCH practices at home?
First of all, be a positive role model and get on the floor with them. You as a parent will feel better too! Parents can get involved by playing games that their kids learned at school (there are many great SWITCH games that can be done at home as well as lesson related to nutrition), read books with them about nutrition and exercise, communicate with their teachers and get resources to do at home. It can be a great family time that everyone can enjoy!
4. How do you integrate SWITCH practices in your personal life?
I remember I was hiding flashcards around the house and my 4-year old son was searching for them and practiced reading letters and words. Now,he is 9, and his favorite activity is doing yoga stories. We have flashcards with yoga poses and we randomly select some cards and then we need to come up with a story using the yoga poses. Doing yoga is the favorite activity of my 20-month old daughter as well!
5. What is a favorite website?
One I enjoy using lately is the cosmic kids YouTube channel. There are great yoga stories there that keep us entertained as well as physically active.