Girls on the Run® offers a totally unique experience for girls. Not to be confused with a running program or basic after-school activity, our curriculum is the core of each of our programs. We have two curricula: Girls on the Run is for 3rd through 5th grade girls and Heart & Sole (formerly Girls on Track) is for 6th through 8th grade girls.
Over a period of 10 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 5th grade participate in an after-school program like no other. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence, and celebrate all that makes them unique.
The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then, we look at the importance of team work and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.
Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of each three month session, the girls participate the Girls on the Run 5k Run/Walk. This celebratory, noncompetitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum. Completing the 5k gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.
Each lesson is divided into activities with specific functions to enhance the learning process. A lesson begins with a Getting on Board activity, which brings the girls' focus to the topic of the day. The girls then do a Warm-Up activity, which again focuses on the day’s topic, but does so in a manner which actually serves to warm up their muscles, joints and cardiovascular system.
A Processing question and answer time follows the warm-up activity. The girls stretch while specific questions are asked to bring out the relevance of the warm-up activity to the topic. The goal of processing is to help the girls make connections and see how the lessons apply to their lives. Processing is the most important piece of each lesson. Processing relates the activities to the real world and requires good listening skills.
A Workout activity follows where the girls do a variety of running workouts that incorporate a game or a team goal that keep it fun. Please note that girls are encouraged to move forward at their own pace with their best effort during any workout–this can mean walking, running, skipping, or a combination of any of these.
The lesson concludes with the girls answering some final Processing questions related to the workout activity while they complete cool-down stretching.
Each session ends with a Wrap Up, during which the coaches and girls express positive comments about individual and group behaviors.
Each session also finishes with energy awards that recognize positive individual and group behaviors (awards are invented and decided upon by the girls).
Lesson plans are clearly laid out with required materials listed at the beginning.
Click here to download a Sample Girls on the Run Lesson.
Ready to bring Girls on the Run to your school or community center? Site applications for the fall are being accepted through August 22, 2016. Apply online here.
Girls on the Run International has evaluated program efficacy since 2002. Click here to see the curriculum evaluations.
"I learned that I can just be me."