Chapel Hill, NC — Educational nonprofit, The Walking Classroom Institute, donated $535,000 worth of program materials during its 2016 Back-to-School campaign, bringing the total value of donated class sets since its inception in 2011 to nearly $2.3 million. To date, The Walking Classroom program has benefitted over 40,000 students nationwide as the result of donated class sets received by teachers completely free of charge.

Approximately $205,000 worth of donated class sets were possible due to a grant received in November 2015 from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Under this grant, The Walking Classroom Institute is working to make the program available to elementary school children in six rural North Carolina counties. An additional $24,000 of donated class sets were funded by a grant approved from the Oak Foundation in July 2016.

Walking Classroom sets consist of MP3 players, known as WalkKits, preloaded with over 100 educational kid-friendly podcasts geared towards upper elementary students. The companion Teacher’s Guide includes lesson plans and comprehension quizzes for each podcast, making the program easy for teachers to implement. Students and their teachers take a brisk 20-minute walk while listening to a podcast then follow up with discussions and quizzes.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a strong connection between increased physical activity and improved brain function. The Walking Classroom’s “Walk, Listen, and Learn” methodology successfully capitalizes on this connection, resulting in stronger engagement in the classroom.

Fourth grade teacher Lindsey Diederich from West St. Paul, MN, said, “Students are much more focused on other subject areas as well once they come back from our walks. Even students who have trouble in academic areas feel very successful because they are able to hear the information and bring their ideas to the follow up conversations.”

Both students and teachers highly rate the program. Of students surveyed during the 2015-2016 school year, 89% agreed that The Walking Classroom helps them understand the curriculum content and 76% agreed that it helps them concentrate better throughout the day.

Of teachers surveyed during that timeframe, 97% said the program strengthens student understanding of curriculum content and engages students with different learning styles, and 93% said their students are better behaved after a Walking Classroom lesson.

More about The Walking Classroom
A national award-winning education program, The Walking Classroom provides students with an innovative way to get exercise without sacrificing instructional time. The organization was co-founded by Executive Director/Creator Laura Fenn, a former 5th grade teacher with over 15 years of classroom experience. Laura developed The Walking Classroom with her 5th grade students as a way to add exercise into their school day without sacrificing instructional time. The nonprofit program grew rapidly, has won several national awards, and is now used by tens of thousands of students in 49 states across the country. Learn more at

More about The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was established in 1947 and is now one of the largest private trusts in North Carolina. Its mission is to improve the quality of life and quality of health for the financial needy of North Carolina. The Health Care Division promotes wellness state-wide by investing in prevention and treatment. The Poor and Needy Division of the Trust responds to basic life needs and invests in solutions that improve the quality of life and health for financially needy residents of Forsyth County. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. serves as sole trustee.

More about Oak Foundation
Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India, and North America, Oak Foundation makes grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.