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A Glimpse into P.E. Class at Lakeside

by Rebecca Johnson, Movement and Games Teacher

It's a cold January afternoon when I arrive at school. But the sun is shining in the brilliant bluebird sky and the well preserved snow is sparkling in the surrounding meadows. The class of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders and I, organize our gear and walk over to the barn, to start our ski for the next 45 minutes. This is winter Movement and Games class at Lakeside School.

I can tell there are smiles under their masks, as the more capable skiers click in at the top of the hill, excited that the forgiving snow has given them the green light to attempt the challenging terrain. The youngest learners walk a little further down, and we all meet at the bottom, where the "trails" begin. In the meadow, there is ample opportunity for skiers of different abilities to explore the field loops that we've created in previous classes. In reality, I can see the extent of each these loops from my vantage point. But in their mind, they are going off on their own expedition. We remind each other, to look out for your partner out there, and to make sure that you both stay together, for safety and for fun. They excitedly split into pairs or groups, relay their plan to me...and they're off! All but the youngest learner, who stays with me, as he is intent on practicing hills.

Each day presents different circumstances for an outdoor class. We've skied when the snow is sticking to our skis like cement. We've skied when it is crusty and hard. We've stayed in the woods, when the winds were strong and gusty. We've traded skis for skates, when the snow was nonexistent. This encourages our adaptability, and makes bluebird powder days like this feel special.

I watch as these very capable children relish their opportunity to move and to be outside on this chilly, beautiful day.I can't help but smile, as they're striding along, chatting with each other and enjoying their adventure.They are building strength and resilience, while finding joy in each other's company.The work in our class is definitely physical, but also very much a social exercise. I reflect on the qualities that these children will need in their future. I have seen their teachers encourage many of these holistic traits throughout my days here, from hard work and persistence, to love and caring for one another, to resiliency and adaptability, to celebrating beauty and joy. I am grateful that this space is created for our children to grow.

And then my attention is drawn to a whoop just down hill from me, "I just beat my own record!" The youngest hill practicer had already fallen and gotten up several times, in his attempt to make it down to the bottom of his hill. But this time, he made it without falling and raised his arms high in the air. It is a good day at Lakeside.


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