“How do I want to move in my life?” This vital question informs the Physical Education curriculum of all grade levels at 100 East End Avenue. By introducing students to a wide variety of sports, teachers help each individual discover the fitness activities that work best for them.
“Even if a student doesn’t enjoy competitive sports, they can still find enjoyment in PE and discover other ways to stay active,” Lower School PE teacher Sydney Streimer explains.
One lifelong wellness endeavor that features prominently in Chapin’s PE classes is yoga. “It’s an activity that can be practiced anytime, anywhere, and is something students can continue as they get older and leave Chapin,” Ms. Streimer adds.
Yoga is first introduced to students in Kindergarten so that from an early age they can understand and experience the physical benefits like flexibility and core strength, and also the mental benefits from practices like mindfulness and controlled breathing.
Using tools like instructional videos, cue cards and yoga storybooks, Kindergarten students learn basic yoga poses and, through breathing exercises, discover the importance of taking full, mindful breaths. They explore the differences between inhaling and exhaling and make connections to our natural world through poses like snake, mountain, sun and dog.
During a recent PE class, Kindergartners had fun following along with a “Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure” video inspired by the animated movie “Trolls.”
Spread around the gym, the group began by taking a mindful moment… lying flat on their backs, hands resting on their stomachs, calmly breathing in and out. Next, they sat up cross-legged, pressed their hands together and said “Namaste” to kick off the yoga flow.
Led by an enthusiastic instructor dressed as a colorful troll, the yogis-in-training stretched, bent, reached and moved throughout the poses. Some were new to the students, and others were familiar favorites like tree and warrior. Throughout the session, Ms. Streimer and PE teacher Callie Jensen moved around the room, complimenting the Kindergartners on their form and balance and offering help when needed.
To wind down after the energizing flow, the students took several deep breaths and said one final “Namaste.” “There is happiness in each and every one of us. We just have to find it,” the instructor concluded.
With this, the students headed back to their homeroom with a little extra pep in their steps. Their yoga practice will continue to grow throughout their time at Chapin, strengthening their bodies and minds and encouraging them to choose movement and wellness throughout their lives.
Browse photos from the class below: