Physical Education is recognized as contributing significantly to a student’s well-being and happiness. High quality Physical Education contributes to good health, develops advanced motor skills, and improves students’ self- confidence. The development of fundamental movement skills at an early age establishes a strong base for more advanced skills and enables student to enjoy a life time of physical activity. Studies also show there is a direct correlation between increased physical activity and academic successes.
Each Grade in our curriculum is aligned with the California State Physical Education Standards, which provide a guideline of what students need to know at each grade level. Our program has many exciting activities and experiences for all students. My goal is to provide each student with a safe, positive, and supportive environment to explore the joys of lifetime movement and physical fitness. Let me give you some idea of what we do specifically in each class.
The main focus for Kindergarten Students is to learn basic movement skills like jumping, hopping, catching and throwing a ball. These skills are embedded into a fun, age appropriate activities like creating body shapes, performing a log roll, kicking a ball and simple class games.
First Grade students are emerging as individual learners, who are ready to refine basic movement skills. Student’s at this age work on jump rope skills (both single ropes and long ropes), different throwing patterns and balance activities. Students learn simple facts about the heart and how important a muscle it is to their body and movement.
Second Grade students are now ready to take individual skills to the next level and work together in partner activities combining manipulative activities with movement activities like kicking a rolling ball, using a paddle, hand dribbling a basketball, foot dribbling a ball, and more advanced jump rope activities. Students at this grade level are able to run for a longer time and understand basic directions given to improve a motor skill.
Third Grade students are able to play games with more rules and work with other students to achieve a common goal. During this year individual skills are practiced to develop accuracy and speed. Students learn to perform traditional exercises: curl-ups, push-ups, step-ups. They become more aware of their responsibility for their overall fitness level.
Fourth Grade student are now ready to participate in game situations at a more competitive level. They are able to understand and accomplish advance strategies with small groups. They are able to perform many more manipulative skills like punting a ball, striking a ball with a racket, a bat, a stick, or their hand. They understand which skills apply to a specific sport and are beginning to understand sport specific rules. Fourth Grade is the first grade level that the Presidential test is given formally. In the beginning of the year student learn each test they will be tested on. They set their own goals to work based on their results in the pre-test. In the Spring, formal testing is done.
Fifth Grade students are able to understand that practicing a skill will make you a better athlete. They understand the concept of offense and defense in a game situation. Fifth grade students participate in the Presidential Test and are responsible for developing a fitness plan to achieve their personal goals. Fifth graders are able lead class warm-ups, under the direction of the teacher and design simple exercise routine. Students are able to focus on a sport for a longer time which leads to more competitive game situations. They also are encouraged to learn good sportsmanship.
In Middle School the standards emphasize working together to achieve a common goal meeting challenges and making decisions at the individual level and team level.
Sixth Grade is a year that students become very aware of their peers. They are faced with making individual decisions that will benefit themselves and at the team level. It is time when the light bulb goes on and they realize that in order to achieve a goal in a team situation they must work together. Their individual skills become more developed and they begin to become sport specific in their training. They are able attain a high level of achievement in an activity with practice. They also participate in the Presidential Test and learn to set personal goals for health and fitness.
Seventh Grade students demonstrate more mature techniques for throwing, kicking and punting, and volleying. They are able to memorize complicated routines in dance and sport drills. They like to be with their peers and enjoy competitive situations. Seventh graders begin to choose a lifetime sport. At St. Mary’s they are instructed in a variety of activities like hockey, soccer, softball, basketball, dance, and track. Students are able to accept increased responsibility for their own physical fitness and activities in a class situation.
Eighth graders are able to demonstrate how movement skills are learned and can help another student learn an activity. At this age level motor skills can be fine-tuned with practice. Eight graders are ready to compete in sports at a very competitive level. They are able to diagram and explain offensive and defensive strategies. They are able to develop strategies in a game situation to increase performance as an individual and team. Students are beginning to understand the team concept and realize their specific contribution to a team based on individual skills. Eight grades are able sustain a high level of activity for a greater time. They realize that their individual fitness level controls the time and level of fitness they can attain. They are able to understand that there are different conditioning activities for different activities.