Lisa Vatnsdal attended Take Your Parent to PE week with her now fifth-grade daughter Aubrey last year at Solheim Elementary School in Bismark, North Dakota.
As a kid, PE class wasn’t my favorite class. I wasn’t an athlete and much preferred music over PE. So, when my daughter, Aubrey, came bouncing in after school one day, inviting me to join her gym class for “Take Your Parents to PE Week,” I wasn’t overly excited. I reluctantly agreed, and I am so glad I did.
The day arrived, and her unending smile was priceless when I walked into the gym. The class was divided into red and blue teams, and each team member received a “light saber” (aka pool noodle) corresponding to their team color. Just as everyone was grabbing their light sabers… the Star Wars theme song began rolling through the gym! If you were tapped by the opposing team’s light saber you were “out” and you had to kneel down in place until someone from your team hit your light saber with theirs. I was on the red team and quickly discovered there was a lot more strategy to the game than I anticipated; Keeping your team alive, staying away from the opponents and working together in hopes of getting all team members of the opposite team out. I was most impressed with how the students handled the situations where they both believed they got each other out. They promptly played a quick game of rock, paper, scissors and whoever lost kneeled right down without argument. Conflict resolution incorporated right into gym class. Genius! We wrapped up class with stretching and Aubrey and her class headed back to their classroom, re-energized and ready to learn.
I left with a sense of accomplishment and greater appreciation for the importance of the skills and activities my kids are doing in PE class. I also gained a greater appreciation that physical activity and play are essential elements for child development, overall health and a well-rounded education. I so often asked my kids what they did in Math, Science or Geography, but now I ask what they did in PE as well.
The work of Active Schools and its Take Your Parent to PE campaign is important because physical learning in PE class helps students feel better, work together as a team, reduce anxiety and maintain focus in the classroom.
I look forward to participating again this year, and I hope you will too!
Take Your Parent to PE Week is Sept 23-27, 2019! For information and toolkits visit our PE Week page.