Move and Improve preschool program about more than just physical fitness |

Move and Improve preschool program about more than just physical fitness

Joe Moylan

Scott Liebler had much more in mind than helping children improve their strength, endurance and coordination when in 1988 he founded Moving and Improving and Funsical Fitness.

Back then there weren’t any childhood physical fitness programs and almost no science to support the notion that movement could improve not only children’s motor skills, but also their social, mental and emotional development.

But Liebler was a touch ahead of the times and over the years he’s seen the benefits movement can have in the development of 2- through 5-year-olds.

“One of the key observations I receive from teachers is the response even the shyest kids have to my program,” Liebler said. “That’s one of the joys of my job. When you get kids out of their shells you begin to see all sorts of talents develop.”

This year more than 200 preschool-age children in Summit County participated in Moving and Improving, which was funded by a Summit Foundation grant offered through Early Childhood Options and Summit Head Start.

Participants in the annual program included students at Dillon Valley, Silverthorne, Frisco and Upper Blue elementary schools, as well as youngsters at Lake Dillon and Little Red preschools.

Although Liebler developed the program to encourage early development of a variety of life skills, Moving and Improving is a physical fitness-based concept focusing on arm, leg and cardiovascular strength.

Liebler conducted four evaluations at the beginning and at the end of the school year to measure each child’s ability to perform arm lifts, leg lifts, line jumps and 10-yard runs. By the end of the year the children had improved their strength and endurance by an average of 122 percent.

“Movement provides stimulation and circulation and connects children to the three parts of the body we refer to as the motor system — the brain, nervous system and muscles,” Liebler said. “Motor-system skills allow children to excel physically, mentally and emotionally, and you can really see them blossom as they become more aware of themselves and their bodies.”

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