‘Movement is the starting point for wiring the brain for learning.’ This quote by Gill Connell from A Moving Child is a Learning Child describes how ASM’s Lower School PE program connects to the student experience. Lower School PE is a developmental program. This means that students are given opportunities to develop different skills in varying ways. They are able to sample different sports and activities to ultimately find their interests in a no-pressure environment.
However, this does not look like units based on specific sports but rather different skills. Units focus on skills that can be used in multiple activities. For example, students complete a unit on kicking but do not actually play soccer/football during it. Instead, they work on passing and dribbling skills with different-sized balls and even other objects.
They play modified games of kickball with varying rules and create games where they try to see how much strength and precision they need to knock items down. While many students do play on soccer/football teams, these activities are enjoyable and include all students no matter their experience.
In early childhood PE classes, students enjoy the exploration of materials in an inquiry-based format. They have opportunities to manipulate items as they choose and PE teachers use questioning to develop their learning. Students are given experiences with music and sound for different types of movement and PE teachers connect this to them understanding how this feels from a sensory perspective.
The goal of Lower School PE is for students to become masters of their bodies and movement to ultimately develop confidence in their interests. As students move through the program, they are able to develop their skills while finding their strengths in movement.