JANUARY 30, 2019 — Students and teachers at Alaska schools are getting ready for the next PLAAY Day — that day once a year when children complete a half hour of organized physical activity all at the same time in communities across the state.
The first PLAAY Day took place two years ago, and since then hundreds of children in schools from Aniak to Glennallen to Ketchikan have participated. The third annual PLAAY Day is set for Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019. Alaska schools can sign up now using a simple online database.
PLAAY stands for Positive Leadership for Active Alaska Youth. Our partners, the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and Healthy Futures program, are running PLAAY Day to help Alaska children get active for good health.
“This is a shared experienced about really connecting kids in different places,” said Wally Wilson, director of PLAAY events for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. Schools have been signing up across Alaska, as well as in other parts of the country like Connecticut and Washington, D.C., Wilson said.
This year, participating children will be doing the physical activities of superheroes, nationally recognized athletes and former presidents. Kids will do the motions of cross country skate skiing, in honor of Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall. They’ll do the motions of a balance beam walk like Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas. They’ll pretend to complete a slap shot like Stanley Cup winning hockey player Scott Gomez. These athletes and leaders are role models for Alaska’s students — putting the emphasis on choosing healthy physical activities.
“It’s cool to be healthy,” Wilson said.
PLAAY Day will begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 21, with students from the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation leading a room of Anchorage-based children in the fun session of activities. They’ll be demonstrating the activities at the Special Olympics Alaska building in the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage. GCI and Denali Media will be broadcasting that demonstration live to participating schools using free videoconferencing technology. That will allow children across Alaska to join along and complete the half hour of physical activity in their own gyms, classrooms, recreation centers and common spaces. All children will be able to participate at their appropriate levels. Physical activities included during PLAAY Day will be able to be modified and adapted to include students of all abilities, said Harlow Robinson, executive director of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
Schools and organizations across Alaska will participate in PLAAY Day live by streaming through Facebook and YouTube Live. Schools that sign up for PLAAY Day will receive more information about the event as the date gets closer. Interested schools and groups can register as an entire school, a classroom, a home school, or an organization.
Right after PLAAY Day concludes, the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame will run the PLAAY Summit on Feb. 22 and 23, 2019, at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage. The theme of the 2019 PLAAY events is “Exercise Leadership.” 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 summit will focus on physical activity as a way to improve health. The keynote speaker this year is Dr. Michael Yogman, a Boston-area pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Yogman recently published an article called “The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children.” This article focuses on the importance of play in healthy youth development.
People in remote locations across Alaska will be able to participate in the summit through videoconferencing. Professional development credits for school district employees, credit hours for nurses, and social work continuing education units (CEUs) will be available to participants.
Many organizations are partners of PLAAY Day and PLAAY Summit. They include Healthy Futures; the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; GCI and Denali Media; Special Olympics Alaska; the Anchorage School District; University of Alaska Anchorage; clinics and hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at Providence, Alaska Center for Pediatrics, LaTouche Pediatrics, the Children’s Clinic and Alaska Pediatric Therapy; the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services; the Play Every Day campaign; Bristol Bay Native Corporation; the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority; and businesses, such as Kaladi Brothers Coffee, Moose’s Tooth, the Alaska Club, the Dome and Skinny Raven Sports.
To learn more about PLAAY Day or the PLAAY Summit, contact Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Robinson at email@example.com.
Photograph courtesy of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame