New running, mindfulness program being tested at Pat-Med’s Tremont Elementary


Patchogue-Medford elementary students are going to have a new way to stay fit — both physically and mentally.

Thanks to a $6,030 donation from Dr. Frank Egan of Egan Orthodontics, a new health program called the Mind Body Fitness Initiative will be rolling out in April at Tremont Elementary School in Medford.

Kids Run Long Island, a nonprofit organization that promotes good health in children is heading the initiative. The multi-week program will involve Kids Run Long Island instructors being at Tremont at recess and the classrooms to teach third and fifth graders about health and wellness.

While outside, the children will be introduced to a running program through which they’re encouraged to run or walk. The student’s mileage will be recorded and they will be awarded for beating old times and distances.

“Each week they will get incentives to keep pushing themselves,” said Kids Run Long Island’s executive director, Kiersten Bartolotta.

At the end of the program the students will participate in the “Fun Run,” which is one final, timed race.

In the classroom, Kids Run Long Island instructors will teach the students about mindfulness twice a week for 12 sessions. The children will learn about ways to avoid negative behaviors and thoughts.

“The mindfulness classes will help the kids with focus and attention, as well as self-regulation,” said Bartolotta.

The Mind Body Fitness Initiative will only be in the one district building to start, and depending on the program’s level of success, it might then spread to the other schools as early as next fall, said Patchogue-Medford Superintendent Michael Hynes.

“This is so great,” Dr. Hynes said, who also believes the mindfulness component of the program works well with what the district is trying to accomplish through yoga and meditation.

“The bad news is it’s only one elementary school,” he said, “but the good news is we’re going to try to work toward getting something for every elementary school next year.

(Top Photo): Children running at the Kids Run Long Island’s Fun Run in 2016. (courtesy photo.)

Op/Ed: The need for mindfulness, yoga, meditation and extended play in schools

Christine Egan (left), wife of Dr. Frank Egan of Egan Orthodontics, presenting Kiersten Bartolotta (right) with donation check. (courtesy photo.)