A unique initiative combining drumsticks and fitness balls might seem a little odd, but students at St. Ann (Ancaster) Catholic Elementary School will tell you it's the perfect match to help keep them mentally and physically fit.
DrumFIT, which was created in 2006, is a high-energy program that uses fitness and music to help children keep active while being engaged through energetic beats that they help create.
Benefitting the body, mind and spirit, the program is one way the school is supporting mental health and well-being.
"The St. Ann school community recognizes the value of engaging in mental health initiatives in order to create a common understanding regarding mental health,” said Principal Teresa Nocciolino.
“It helps reduce and eliminate stigma associated with mental illness and builds capacity among students and staff by promoting help-seeking behaviour and resiliency.”
Thanks to a grant from the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton, every class at St. Ann was able to participate in a DrumFIT workshop where they were able to continue the conversation on mental well-being through drumming, physical activity and play.
“DrumFIT combines the mental health benefits of drumming with the overall health benefits of physical fitness,” noted Nocciolino.
“Research indicates that physical activity improves health and builds confidence, leadership, productivity and creativity. Therefore, increasing activity can lead to a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety which will result in reducing vulnerabilities while at the same time building protective factors in our students.”