Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12
Exploration as Education: Playing in the Canyon in Pre-Kindergarten P.E.
Exploration as Education: Playing in the Canyon in Pre-Kindergarten P.E.

While getting students excited about physical activity is one of the main goals of P.E. class, teaching them to be confident, strong, and explorative individuals are also some of our main learning objectives. In the pre-kindergarten P.E. class this year, students have spent much of their time practicing agility, balance, and direction following skills through a variety of games and focused units. As we head into the end of the school year with stronger bodies and abilities, the pre-kindergarten team is now beginning to work on the social emotional component of our class that emphasizes teamwork, self confidence, and determination. Heading deep into the canyon next to our school has been the perfect place to put into practice all of these skills!

As students head down into the canyon, they climb over boulders and walk down paths that require courage and awareness of their surroundings. Exploring in the canyon, students take turns leading each other through cavernous spaces and to the tops of rocks to look around the area. They take a deep breath and skulk around quietly as they listen for the sounds of lions and tigers that reside within this space, and they work together to ensure that the animals do not find their hiding space. Our team members lend each other hands as they climb up to a new lookout and watch out for friends who may be falling behind deep in their own explorations. When playing in the canyon, our pre-kindergarten students are learning and practicing life skills that are essential parts of our physical education learning. In learning how to be team player, caring friend, and confident explorer early in life, our students will hopefully be more successful individuals throughout the various new experiences they encounter in their youth and young adult lives. Taking the time to come down to this exciting spot that seems far, far away from our school, we provide unique learning opportunities that are transferable throughout the ages... and it's a whole lot of fun!

-Ms. Colette, LS P.E. Teacher

What Can It Mean to Be a Hero?

This week in FLIGHT we have been talking about the word hero for the letter H. Hero is a word that most children already have in their schema. We have been "cracking open" the word hero with our friends in pre-k and thinking about ways that heroism can exist in our own lives.

To spark children's thinking, we showed them a short video of a woman struggling to finish a half marathon, she is helped along by three strangers. We wanted to see what ideas the video might bring to mind for the children. The rich discussion that followed was a great starting point in our exploration of "Hero." See the video here.

We placed an ongoing list of the children's ideas on the wall of our classroom. It says, "What do we know about the word Hero?" The answers we have recorded so far, from three discussions, have been insightful and illuminating, giving us a clear picture of what ideas the children already hold and where we might take our collective thinking in the future. See the list of our thinking below:

"What do we know about the word hero?"
"To be helping and loving" -Wilder
"And be nice" - Ani
"And saving" -Mihai
"Helping animals and everything" -
"Helping a stranger or a friend" -Arora
"Helping a bad guy to be a good guy" -Mihai
"We can help people stand up" -Mahela
"When persons are sick you can help them feel better" -Theo
"You can help yourself even!" -Ani

Discussing students' ideas, recording their words and listening with intention helps us to understand their preconceived notions and theories, and reflect upon how we might go about challenging them to stretch and expand their thinking. Listening to their ideas has deepened our own thinking about what it means to be a hero.

Pre-K practices holding hero poses for 2 minutes each day, to help us feel empowered and confident.

-Ms. Emily, Pre-K Teacher

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