Through a developmental program, students acquire the skills necessary to become confident, healthy, life-long movers. While the curriculum for the lower grades and upper grades differ in content and emphasis, healthy lifestyle habits, cooperation, and “Game Etiquette” are woven into the entire program.
Lower Grades (Kindergarten through 3rd grade):
The goal of the physical education program in the lower grades is to develop competent movers through a spiraling, skill-based curriculum. Basic movement skills, such as throwing, catching, and kicking are revisited with increasing levels of difficulty and complexity throughout the year. Through experiential learning, students are encouraged to perform at their own pace and to push their “comfort zone.”
A unique and highly anticipated component in the lower grades’ curriculum is the perceptual motor development program, or “Barefoot Days” as the students call it. On these days, students participate in activities that focus on balance, spatial and body awareness, hand-eye and foot-eye coordination, and motor planning. While the program follows a set curriculum, the stations or tasks are student-centered and student-driven. For each task, students choose their own “challenge,” or level of difficulty, allowing them to practice and acquire the given skill at their pace rather than that of the class. In addition, the perceptual motor development program dovetails and supports the spiraling, skill-based curriculum that is the foundation of Lowell’s physical education program.
Upper Grades (4th-5th grade):
The goal of the physical education program in the upper grades is to develop a deeper understanding of being a physically educated person. Building from the basic movement patterns developed in the lower grades, students use these skills in cooperative activities, multi-cultural games, and modified “sports” units. Through a collaborative approach, students understand the role physical activity plays in our lives both in and out of the gym. Examples of this integrated curriculum are best demonstrated in grade level
4th Grade: Systems
Students in this grade level focus on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem in all classes. One way that physical education integrates the “Systems” theme into the curriculum is through a “Hiking” unit. In this unit students learn map and compass skills, “Leave No Trace” principles, and the health benefits of hiking.
5th Grade: Structures
Students in this grade level focus on structures of all kinds. One way that physical education integrates the “Structures” theme into the curriculum is through a series of lessons in which students explore the idea of “base of support.” Students build physical structures (using their bodies) with partners and small groups. The concepts of support, as well as muscular strength and muscular endurance, are reinforced to ensure a complete understanding of “Structure” in physical education.
Lowell is fortunate to have wonderful facilities, such as a bouldering wall, an indoor swimming pool, open fields, a natural light-filled gymnasium with hardwood floors, and close proximity to Rock Creek Park. Taking advantage of Lowell’s resources, students in grades K-5 receive instruction in swimming and rock climbing in
addition to gym and field related activities.