Peter Driscoll is a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and a physical-education teacher at Hartland Elementary School in Hartland, Vermont. He’s also the founder of HES CrossFit, which operates out of a transformed kindergarten classroom in the school. The affiliate is helping the school’s K-8 students gain strength and confidence through the integration of CrossFit into their daily lives.

Driscoll explains that when he brought research to principal Jeff Moreno “that showed him how movement positively impacted cognitive capacity and academic performance,” Moreno decided to support Driscoll’s efforts to build the program.

As a result, what began as a small initiative with six male students, some PVC pipes and a few kettlebells has grown into a school-wide movement. Students now take exercise breaks throughout the day and can choose to do CrossFit during recess or elective periods or after school with their teachers and peers.

“We believe in getting the kids out of their seats. We believe in getting the kids to think creatively, to learn to be learners, to learn to be thinkers,” Moreno says.

Driscoll explains that they call the CrossFit room “the ‘brain fit room’ because students are learning that when they move, they’re actually making their brains stronger and healthier, just like their body.”

Moreno notes that the program also builds character:

“One of the most important things that CrossFit does is it builds confidence in a middle schooler and an adolescent and a young adult.”

Video by Jay Driscoll.

15min 57sec

Additional reading: “Not Taking It Sitting Down,” by Maureen O’Hagan, published March 24, 2015.

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