Our Lower School Physical Education curriculum is thoughtfully designed to foster movement (and the love of it), to develop physical and cognitive abilities, and cultivate character through decision-making and teamwork activities. These were on full display during a recent lesson in Gym 6, where Kindergarteners were joyfully engaging in a unit called “playground games."
“What game was set up during our last class?” co-teacher Ali Levy asked Ms. Temple and Ms. David’s section of Kindergarteners.
"Hopscotch!” the students cheered. After learning the rules of the game during their last P.E. class, today, the girls were able to design their own hopscotch boards.
“Should you ever have three in a row?” Ms. Levy asked. “Do we have three legs?” (The students giggled and replied, ‘No!’)
In designated groups (by wearing either a red, yellow, green pinnie or none at all), the students made their way across the gym and excitedly set up their game. After 15 minutes of play, during which students honed their skills of coordination and balance, they came back together in the center to learn a new game.
“We’re going to play a game called Spud,” said Ms. Levy, eliciting a fit of giggles. Since the Kindergarteners were unfamiliar with this funny word, their teachers encouraged them to guess what it meant.
“You’ve all definitely eaten one,” Ms. Levy prompted.
“They grow underground,” added co-teacher Jeanne Allegra.
“And they’re used to make French fries!”
With that, the students correctly determined that a spud is a potato. Their teachers then urged them to sound it out to figure out how it’s spelled.
Once they had this important background knowledge, Ms. Allegra whispered a secret number to each girl. “Make a circle around Ms. Levy and don’t tell anyone your number,” she instructed.
“I’m going to throw the ball in the air and say a number,” Ms. Levy explained to the students assembled around her. “If it’s your number, you run and catch the ball. If it’s not, you run far away from the ball.”
She noted, too, that once a student catches the ball, everybody must freeze. The student with the ball then takes four steps towards a classmate and attempts to roll the ball to hit their friend’s feet. If they succeed, the student whose feet were hit receives an “S.” If the roller misses, however, they are the one who gets an “S.” Any student who accumulates the four letters that spell out “Spud,” is out of the game.
Split into two groups (one with Ms. Levy and the other with Ms. Allegra), the students quickly mastered the rules and moved fervently throughout the gym.
Through these seemingly simple games, our youngest students are able to practice locomotor, gross-motor and manipulative skills, while also exploring sportsmanship. And, importantly, they also have lots of fun!
Next on the docket? Four Square!