From Fours to twelfth grade, physical education at LREI is a time when learning is linked to play. Our first aim is to help children improve their movement skills and to develop healthy bodies while encouraging creative collaboration and fairplay. In addition to helping children become more skillful, resilient and steadfast, we attempt to help them feel good about themselves as movers so that they will learn to feel comfortable participating in new activities. Throughout our divisions, we are committed to creating ways to have participation from all our students. We recognize that for each child who enjoys the challenge and camaraderie of a team game, another prefers the challenge and satisfaction of individual activities. At the forefront of our mission, children have the opportunity to be themselves.
An example of our commitment to the value of play combined with a strong skill-based curriculum is the “Wizard Game” in second grade gymnastics. In this game, a wizard tests trees for strong trunks as they sneak through his or her forest. The middle school continues this ethos when seventh graders create, teach, and critique games that complement a skill theme. Along with an all-inclusive no cut team policy, the high school athletic program offers individual sports, including swimming, fencing, tennis, and track and field, as well as physical education classes like karate, cardio strength training, and yoga.
By cultivating the skill sets that allow students to first work individually, then with partners and small groups and finally in teams, we prepare our students to value good citizenship through good sportsmanship. For example, emotional readiness is developed in the first grade by learning to accept a fair tag with honesty. This ability to take responsible risks within the context of community norms is highlighted when fourth graders supportively create tumbling routines in small groups that are then performed in front of their fellow students. By deferring games designed for adults until emotional readiness and skill readiness are developed, the middle school plays “lead-up” games that reflect the spirit of a team sport yet provide our students with more opportunity for skill development and more active strategizing within moments of play.
A touchstone of our program is keeping the focus on the joy of games and sports, while developing good sportsmanship. For example, in the first grade children have to work individually and as partners to successfully jump over the moving whirlybird.This feeling of belonging within a group is also reflected in the game “Mission Impossible.” Here a collaborative adventure game reinforces good citizenship within the context of creative problem solving, mutual support and group decision making. Our fifth and sixth grade intramural program is filled with first time competitors eager to become contributing team members.
Through collaborative projects, active and full participation, and fair play, physical education at LREI develops self-confidence and a can-do spirit in our students, whether they are running, dancing, tumbling or playing team sports.
The physical education department recommends that the School examine the physical education schedule and offerings for all grades as contemplated by the School’s strategic plan.