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Why MMRC? 

We invite children to have open authentic conversations about their thoughts and feelings, to discover self-compassion and empathy for others, find their own unique strengths as well as identify goals and establish tangible steps to achieve those goals. We redefine strength by exploring heart, mind AND body strength, examining what we each can teach and learn,  we show each child how they can articulate a personal strength and reach out to ask others for help. We break traditional barriers of movement by addressing each child where they are, encouraging them to find their own happy pace as an important step to lifelong-balanced fitness. We strive to get every child across their 5k finish line and arm them with the physical and mental tools needed to run 3.1 miles. We distinguish ourselves through our curriculum with character driven stories helping children identify with an external character and their choices to see how they can shift their own behavior. We stand for dignity for ourselves and others and believe providing a platform for children to find their own unique voice and form of movement will foster a lifelong habit of self-care.


According to research (Women's Sports Foundation) girls who have access to sport in elementary school are:


  • Less likely to suffer from depression

  • Less likely to use drugs

  • More likely to achieve academic success 

  • More likely to graduate

  • More likely to be engaged in volunteerism

  • More like to be registered to vote 

  • Less at risk for body dissatisfaction

  • Less likely to develop an eating disorder 

  • Less likely to engage in sexual risk-taking behaviors 

  • More likely to be connected to their community 

  • FAMILIES whose children participate in sport are more likely to have higher levels of family satisfaction

What does the CDC say? 

Centers For Disease Control Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program define physical activity, fitness and exercise as:


Physical Activity: Any bodily movement that results in energy expenditure.

Health Related Fitness: Measure of a person’s ability to perform physical activities requiring endurance, strength, and flexibility. Components of health-related fitness include cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition.

Exercise: Any physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive, for the purpose of improving or maintaining one or more components of fitness.” p.8 (CDC CSPAP) 


Both Mini Mermaid and Young Tritons Running Club provide ALL THREE of these.

We believe MMRC helps meet the need of our children in schools affecting the classroom, their home life, and community through skills taught to enhance social interactions, community service, identifying emotions and needs,  as well as identifying goals.


“Despite national guidelines for physical activity, many children and adolescents are not physically active on a regular basis.”

p. 9 (CDC CSPAP) 


MMRC provides 120 minutes per week for six weeks of guided fitness, games, and dialog about healthy eating, pacing, and perceived rate of exertion. 


With schools having fewer and fewer opportunities for school time fitness, MMRC provides a standards-based fitness session encouraging healthy exercise for life. Only 3.8% of elementary schools and 7.9% of middle schools,  according to the 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Study,  provide the recommended number of minutes of daily physical education (150 minutes per week in elementary schools and 225 minutes per week in secondary schools) CDC recommends afterschool physical activity programs to reinforce lessons learned in school, work towards national recommendation of 60 minutes of daily physical activity, to become more prepared for learning, identify activities they enjoy and might engage in long term.

p. 14 (CDC CSPAP) 







How does MMRC hit the standards?  

Physical Education Model Content Standards for California Public Schools:

As stated by SHAPE America: Society of Health and Physical Educators, "The goal of physical education is to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity." 


In Order to pursue a lifetime of healthful physical activity, a physically literate individual*: • Has learned the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities. • Knows the implications and the benefits of involvement in various types of physical activities. • Participates regularly in physical activity. • Is physically fit. • Values physical activity and its contributions to a healthful lifestyle. p 4 (SHAPE)  


MMRC aims to guide children and their coaches through workouts, games and teaching how to “pursue and enjoy a lifetime of physical activity”. We do so by meeting the following standard recommendations within our six-week sessions which meet bi weekly for 1.5 hours in a group of 10 children for every 1 adult.


In grades 2-8 , MMRC is exceptional in standard 5 outcomes with an average of 91% of the standards met which includes teaching the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge and/or self-interaction (as defined by SHAPE).


Standards for Kindergarten Through Grade Eight:

Standard 1: Students demonstrate the motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities. MMRC meets 10% of these standards for grades 2-8.


Standard 2: Students demonstrate knowledge of movement concepts, principles, and strategies that apply to the learning and performance of physical activities.

MMRC meets 0% of these standards for grades 2-8.


Standard 3: Students assess and maintain a level of physical fitness to improve healthy and performance.

MMRC meets 58% of these standards for grades 2-8.


Standard 4: Students demonstrate knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles, and strategies to improve health and performance.

MMRC meets 17% of these standards for grades 2-8.


Standard 5: Students demonstrate and utilize knowledge of psychological and sociological concepts, principles, and strategies that apply to the learning and performance of physical activity.

MMRC meets 91% of these standards for grades 2-8.


32.2% Grade 2 Standards Met:

Standard 1:  1.1, 1.17 (2 of 19 = 10%)

Standard 2:  (o of 14) 

Standard 3: 3.1, 3.2,3.3, 3.6, 3.7 (5 of 7 = 71%)

Standard 4: 4.1, 4.3, 4.5, 4.6 - 4.8 (6 of 15 = 40%)

Standard 5: 5.1 - 5.7 (7 of 7 = 100%)


28.8% Grade 3 Standards Met:

Standard 1: 1.1(1 of 15 = 7%)

Standard 2:  (0 of 7) 

Standard 3: 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 3.7 (5 of 8 = 63%)

Standard 4: 4.4 - 4.6, 4.16 (4 of 16 = 25%)

Standard 5: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4 - 5.6 (5 of 6 = 83%)


22.2% Grade 4 Standards Met:

Standard 1: 1.1 ( 1 of 22 = 5%)

Standard 2: (0 of 9) 

Standard 3: 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.7, 3.9 (5 of 9 = 56%)

Standard 4: 4.3, 4.10, 4.11 (3 of 17 = 18%)

Standard 5: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 (5 of 6 = 83%)

24.6% Grade 5 Standards Met:

Standard 1: (o of 19) 

Standard 2: (o of 5)

Standard 3: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8 ( 6 of 9 = 67%)

Standard 4: 4.9 (1 of 16 = 6%)

Standard 5: 5.1 - 5.8 (8 of 8 = 100%)


24.4% Grade 6 Standards Met:

Standard 1: (0 of 11) 

Standard 2: (0 of 12)

Standard 3: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 (4 of 6 = 67%)

Standard 4: 4.1 (1 of 7 = 14%)

Standard 5: 5.1 - 5.5 (5 of 5 = 100%)


29% Grade 7 Standards Met:

Standard 1: 1.3,.1.4, 1.5 (3 of 6 = 50%)

Standard 2: (0 of 7) 

Standard 3: 3.5, 3.6 (2 of 6 = 33%)

Standard 4: (0 of 8) 

Standard 5: 5.1 - 5.4 (4 of 4 = 100%)


29% Grade 8 Standards Met:

Standard 1: (0 of 6) 

Standard 2: (o of 6) 

Standard 3: 3.4,.3.5, 3.6 (3 of 6 = 50%)

Standard 4: 4.5 (1 of 6 = 17%)

Standard 5: 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5, 5.7 (5 of 7 = 71%)


* SHAPE Grade Level Outcomes 

How does MMRC measure up? 

MMRC uses California’s Department of Education Physical Fitness (via FitnessGram*) Test results to measure impact of programming on schools for more than 3 years. Watching results from Del Mar Elementary School in Santa Cruz, California where Mini Mermaid Running Club piloted in spring 2010 with 65 girls, we have seen a sharp decline in 5th-grade girls who categorize as “Needs improvement/at health risk” for two categories.


Aerobic Capacity:

2010 - 2011 28.5% of girls at Del Mar were in the needs improvement/health risk

2013/2014, 7.7% of all 5th-grade girls (with programming in it’s 4th year) were in the needs improvement/health risk zone.

This is a decrease of 20.8%


Body Composition:

2010-2011, 42.8% of girls at Del Mar were in the needs improvement/health risk

2013/2014, 19.2% of all 5th grade girls (with programming in it’s 4th year) were in the needs improvement/health risk zone.

This is a decrease of 23.6%


*The FITNESSGRAM® uses objective criteria to evaluate performance for each fitness area (e.g., body composition, abdominal strength, and endurance). The Cooper Institute established these criteria using current research and expert opinions. These criteria represent a level of fitness that offers some protection against the diseases associated with physical inactivity.


Emotional Well-Being:


According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence the following defines wellbeing:


Emotional Wellbeing – this includes being happy and confident and not anxious or depressed

Psychological Wellbeing – this includes the ability to be autonomous, problem-solve, manage emotions, experience empathy, be resilient and attentive

Social Wellbeing – has good relationships with others and does not have behavioral problems, that is, they are not disruptive, violent or a bully.


Mini Mermaid and Young Tritons Running Club address the wellbeing of every child by teaching tools to describe feelings, strategies for emotional distress, self-reflection, team play, individual success, mentoring and problem-solving.


We teach resilience by encouraging each child to vocalize fears without consequence then teach tools to bounce back from that fear through breathing and internal reflection which allows them time to choose how to solve the issue they are facing.


We discourage bullying and train children how to stand up for themselves and others through role playing and physical games designed to highlight the impact of being bullied, being the one bullying or standing silent while someone else is being bullied.


MMRC post-program survey girls in spring 2014 shows the following:


During Mini Mermaid Running Club:

94% felt their coach helped them gain confidence in themselves

93% felt supported and encouraged

75% felt comfortable sharing their story

90% participated in the workouts

88% felt happy, strong and confident moving their bodies

84% learned tools to use when solving problems


As a result of Mini Mermaid Running Club:

90% know they can make a difference

89% use their inner voice to make choices

83% know sharing their story can help others

92% can name an adult in their life they can talk to

84% choose foods which make up a balanced meal (using MyPlate)

95% know moving their body is important

90% can name one goal for their future

88% can identify steps to take in order to achieve their goal

90% can use words to stand up for themselves





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