PE in elementary schools has come a long way since some of us last experienced it. Long gone are the days of the teacher separating the class into two, handing each side a couple of red balls and then allowing each side to pelt the other by throwing the balls as hard as they could at one another.
Stepping into an MSSA PE class is quite the opposite of a 1980s gym class. Much like a Montessori classroom, the environment is prepared. Primary students gather on carefully placed stars while one of our three coaches welcomes and guides them through a lesson. At this stage, lessons focus on fundamental movement. With each lesson building on the previous one, students participate in stations focused on eye-hand coordination, crossing the midline, balance and coordination, and front-to-back movements. The goal of motor skills is to keep the child moving and to allow the child to develop purposeful movement of their body.
As a child moves into Lower Elementary, the focus of each station changes along with the format. Students are assigned monthly groups that support each other as they move from area to area. Reaction, balance, rhythm, control, orientation, and physical activity are vital components of the stations. Students move with progression in mind and can opt for more challenging activities when the others are mastered. Sprinkled throughout the lessons are large group games and theme-based activities, along with a Free Choice Friday the last Friday of every month.
Fitness becomes the focus in Upper Elementary and Middle School. Creating a positive mindset toward the idea of being physical is key to a life of maintaining healthy activity. Reinforcing positive communication through grace, courtesy, respect, and kindness to each other and themselves is essential to staying healthy. Students are reminded of this as they begin to train to run a mile or are introduced to a unit on volleyball or square dancing.
With 40 combined years of experience, Coach O, Coach Brenda, and Coach Lou have built a program that puts the FUN back in fundamentals. They are a team that believes in community and that creating a fun environment will keep kids moving and progressing toward the next level.