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Health Check Kids: Before-school program

"It gets out some of their crazies before the day even begins and they can feel much more ready to learn when the day starts," said Beth Cauley, who is the principal of George Hanaford School in East Greenwich. (WJAR)

A before-school program prepares children for the classroom.

It’s called the "BOKS" program, which stands for “Build Our Kids’ Success.” It’s sponsored by the charitable arm of Reebok, which is based in Massachusetts.

"It gets out some of their crazies before the day even begins and they can feel much more ready to learn when the day starts," said Beth Cauley, who is the principal of George Hanaford School in East Greenwich.

"I heard about the program and recruited about five moms to go up to training with me in Canton, Mass. at Reebok headquarters, and we came back really excited to get this program to the students in East Greenwich," said Nancy Day, a parent volunteer who brought the program to Rhode Island in 2012.

Day, who is now the Rhode Island-area coordinator for the free program, said BOKS is about healthy play.

But there are some rules. The three “Rs,” including “Ready,” “Respectful” and “Responsible”

"We talk about proper form, what muscles it works, why it's important to have strong muscles," said Mandy Lehne, a parent volunteer at Meadowbrook Farms elementary school. She has three kids in that school. "Each week, we start with different things. We do a warmup then we do a running-related activity.”

But this is more than just physical activity.

"It plays off of the whole connection between physical activity and increased brain function, so we want to get kids physically and mentally prepared to go off to a day of optimal learning," said Day.

"I love running around with them,” said Lehne. “I like instilling a love of exercise. Yeah, it's a good way to start our day."

Since, 2012, 57 Rhode Island schools in 15 school districts have enrolled in the program.

Nationally, more than 1,200 schools are enrolled in 48 states. They’re hoping to enroll more schools, with free training for volunteers.

Click here to learn more.

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