When the principal of Owensboro Catholic’s K-3 Campus gave music teacher Heather Hayden a one-hour block of time to create any programming she wanted, the teacher of 10 years took the entire summer to formulate a plan.
After a lot of research, Hayden settled on an idea she hoped would be a hit with the kids — cardio drumming.
The idea behind cardio drumming is simple, but fun. The kids use small sections of pool noodles as drumsticks to hit a large inflatable ball that is anchored in a small laundry basket.
“You should have seen the looks I got at Walmart with carts full of balls and pool noodles,” Hayden said.
In cardio drumming, students watch Hayden as she executes different hitting patterns on the ball to upbeat, age-appropriate music played over a speaker in the gym. The activity helps students work on paying attention, balance, rhythm, but most importantly, Hayden said, watching and following instruction.
“They are working on skills, but they just think they’re in here having a big time,” said K-3 Campus Principal Jim Tinius.
Hayden first introduced cardio drumming to third grade students two weeks ago and second grades students last week. Eventually every grade will enjoy 30 minutes of cardio drumming once a month.
Although Hayden is the campus’ music teacher, she wanted to use the one hour of time she was given for something to foster physical activity. Currently the K-3 campus does not offer physical education classes. It was Hayden’s hope that cardio drumming would lead to more exercise that could be done at school and home.
According to Hayden, one of the most rewarding aspects of this program has been seeing kids freely participating.
“There are no barriers of ‘I’m embarrassed’ or ‘I’m afraid,’” Hayden said. “It’s an equalizer when all can participate.”
But one part of cardio drumming has been challenging, Hayden admits. Storage for 45 balls has presented problems.
“Sometimes my great ideas come with logistical issues,” Hayden said.
The cardio drumming equipment is currently being stored in a storage closet in the gym, Hayden’s classroom and the computer lab.