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Your kindergartner and PE

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By GreatSchools Staff

Creating balance

In PE kindergartners should focus on activities that incorporate the abilities to, stretch, bend, twist, turn, push, and pull. Balance is an especially valuable skill, requiring both strength and concentration, and children can improve their balance by trying creative new poses. “Children have such great imaginations,” says Kaiser, “they can create their own balance positions — a lion pose, a cobra stretch, or a crab balance. Kindergartners [love] to form their bodies into the shapes of letters.”

Balance is equally important as a building block for other exercises and relaxation techniques. “Balance [can be] a foundation for many sports and a good tool for stress-reduction activities like yoga,” Kaiser explains. “Young children who practice balance are also practicing focus and concentration, two very important skills for academic success.”

Eye on the ball

Kindergartners should learn how to throw Frisbees, small beanbags, and balls, learning the proper stance, steps, and follow-through moves. They should begin to develop their throwing, catching, and kicking skills, while practicing bouncing a ball using two hands and one hand. Kids should also practice their ball skills using their feet.

Children begin to learn to identify the parts of the body, learning how to move them during stretching and exercise. Playing games — like “Hokey Pokey” and “Simon Says” — is also great way to reinforce their new knowledge. They can use their body to show that they understand the concepts of “over,” “under,” “behind,” and “through.”

Learning social skills

Children should learn the importance of teamwork, as well. “Good sportsmanship in kindergarten is as simple and important as taking turns and recognizing others during a game,” says Kaiser. “Children at this age learn to work in pairs and small groups and can learn to appreciate others,” she adds. “It is very satisfying to hear children compliment each other when they’re trying out difficult tasks.”

Expect kids to learn how to follow the rules and procedures involved in various games and activities, including how to share and take turns. Finally, children should be taught safety. They should learn how to safely use and care for sports equipment and, more importantly, how to look out for themselves.

What to look for when you visit the classroom:

  • Balls of various sizes
  • Beanbags
  • Frisbees
  • Hula-Hoops
  • Jump ropes
  • Balance beam

 Updated July 2010

Comments from readers

"I think it is rather unusual that my step daughter has a difficult time with paying attention and ingnoring the gym coach. According to her Kindergarden teacher, she wonders off and does 'her own thing'. How can I address this and rectify this behavior at home?"
"This article is very good and help me to teach kindergarten better"
"Intellectual delvelopment, emotional stability and self control are improved with daily physical activity. Excellence in education should be a/b teaching the whole child not just the part. It's like a four legged table without one leg it is unstable. The school that allows daily physical education will reap the benefits of higher test scores and fewer discipline problems. Subsequently, the fidgety child will not be an issue in the classroom when afforded the increased physical activity and misdiagnoses of ADHD will decrease. "
"This was great information to learn. I wasn't sure what she did in PE other than 'run around like a nut' which she enjoys immensely. Thanks for the inside point a view and suggestions on how to further develop these skills at home"
"There are rumours that our school may drop K-PE. I would very dissappointed in a school system that doesnt consider PHYSICAL EDUCATION to be as equally important as a 'mental education'. Children (of all ages) need not only to learn about being healthy, but also to practice being healthy. In todays society, many families have two working parents. With an early bedtime (around 8), most families only get a few hours of together time in an average day. Should we give up reading time, or bath time so that we can get them their required physical time? It is my opinion that public schools who want to drop kindergarten PE dont really care about our kids at all. They only want to teach the kids what they need to know for the school to pass its standard requirements. It is a sad society when a statistic(percentage of passing children) is more important than the child himself"