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Physical Education

It is our belief that students must be physically active, acquire and develop motor skills, and nurture responsible social behavior to insure healthy and enriched lives. When students are provided with age-appropriate physical challenges in a safe, constructive, and adaptable setting, they begin to value physical activity and its contribution to a positive self-image. The Physical Education Department, Nursery through Upper Divisions, provides a continuum of diverse, sequential learning modules through which the students can achieve state and national fitness levels. It is our goal to develop in each individual the initiative to strive for whole body wellness.

Program Description

The Nursery Division program aims to provide a positive, safe learning environment that contributes to the acquisition and development of movement skills. Lessons allow children to become familiar with their bodies' movement potential and lay the foundation for each child to grow and learn as a physically educated individual. Curriculum is based on the three fundamental movement skill categories: manipulative skills, non-manipulative skills, and loco-motor skills as well as the three movement concept categories: where the body moves, how the body moves, and in what relationships the body moves. Two main goals for the Nursery Division movement program are to connect classroom curriculum seamlessly to movement experiences and to generate enthusiasm among the school community related to movement and healthy choices. These goals are highlighted in programs such as the “Step It Up” pedometer program, the Faculty and Staff Wellness Challenge, and the Family Movement Showcase events.

Lower Division classes further allow students to continue the progression of skills initiated at the Nursery level. These skills are then applied to cooperative games and team sports to foster and develop self-initiative, leadership and collaboration. In addition to these activities, the students participate in general lifetime activities such as track, fitness, tennis, and swimming. Beginning in fifth grade and continuing throughout Middle Division, students are divided into gender-based team sports, offering sport skill instruction and modified games.

Middle Division physical education further introduces students to team sports, offers a choice of activity and provides a sports medicine class. One day a week, the students participate in “Challenge Cup,” intramural games promoting teamwork and sportsmanship.

The Upper Division is dedicated to instilling an understanding of the importance of exercise in one’s life and how the life of the mind is affected by the amount of physical exercise one performs. To develop an appreciation for sports that can be played throughout life, students explore a wide range of activities including tennis, basketball, team handball, softball, floor hockey, and volleyball. A swimming evaluation of each student identifies those who require further swimming instruction. To meet a graduation requirement, all students are required to take and pass the standard first aid and CPR course. They learn how to train using Cybex weights, cardiovascular equipment, and fitness classes. Middle and Upper Division students have the opportunity to use the FitLinxx system for personalized weight and aerobic training.

When visiting the John Dorr Nature Lab, students are motivated to participate in challenging and safe physical and experiential activities. These learning activities emphasize the cooperative aspects of living as opposed to competition and individualization. The primary goal of many of the units is to assist the students in learning to work together in a supportive and caring manner while focusing on building trust, setting goals, and solving problems. Participation in many of the Dorr activities is based on “challenge by choice,” in which students are encouraged to participate in a challenging activity. However, they are not forced to complete the activity if they find themselves beyond their comfort level. Students are encouraged to be physically active with their free time as well, by allowing them to participate in outdoor games of their choice. Examples of the Dorr activities include a high-ropes course, a Carolina Climbing wall and a Cooperative Adventure Tower.

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