Health, Happiness and Wholeness
At Lopez School, wellness is more than a federally mandated program; it is a guiding principle that motivates much of what we do. Knowing that children who get whole healthy food and plenty of exercise are better able to concentrate, learn and enjoy life, we dedicate time and resources to this critical area.
The fruits of this philosophy are found in our sports programs, L.I.F.E. Garden Program, healthy cafeteria, field trips, travel programs, elementary wellness class and, most recently, in the addition of a one-mile Vita Parcours on campus. While other schools are cutting recess and other outdoor time, our school board supported our commitment by mandating unstructured recess playtime for K-5 youngsters. Thanks to funding from a 2008 community-supported bond, we added new playground equipment this year.
The Vita Parcours: Eco-Exercise at Its Best
Through the generous donation of one of our school families, the first public Vita Parcours in the U.S. will be unveiled on campus this summer. Designed in collaboration with ecologist Russel Barsh to support scientific research, participatory study and stewardship, the fifteen-station fitness course is both challenging and exhilarating. Hefty chin-up bars, balance beams, step and slalom setups, workout benches and gymnastic rings adapt to all levels while varying levels of difficulty develop strength, stamina and range-of-motion agility.
Based on the original Zurich, Switzerland exercise model, the Vita Parcours is located in a beautiful natural setting on the south campus. Winding through three distinct ecosystems–native deciduous forest, cultivated land and the school athletic fields–it is a natural sanctuary for many species of wildlife including the rare Island Marble Butterfly. Visitors may discover a flush of tiny summer orchids along the trail, a chorus frog in the thicket, deer in the far fields, or over thirty varieties of native songbirds. Teachers bring their classes here to get their wiggles out. The school track team regularly runs the course. AP science students share this outdoor classroom with families, athletes, elders with mobility issues, parents, babies in jogging strollers and workout buddies.
The Vita Parcours is open 365 days a year, from sunup to sundown.