By Mamta Lulla
Let me introduce you to a young fictional character I made up in my head. He goes by Little Timmy.
Little Timmy is an elementary school student who enjoys learning and looks forward to going to school every day after he kisses his mom goodbye as she drops him off at school. Science, Math or Art, Little Timmy won’t be able to pick a favourite class because he enjoys them all immensely. But there’s one class Little Timmy dreads seeing on his schedule: Phys Ed.
Before every physical education class, he wonders if he will be excused this time…
Of course we love our children just as they are but we need to help the Little Timmys out there who are afraid at the mere thought of a ball heading in their direction. These are children who feel uncomfortable and excluded in physical education class throughout their school lives.
But it doesn’t have to be this way says Graminia elementary school teacher Andrew Woloshyn who has incorporated a program called Circus Arts into his physical education class.
“It allows students, who may not be your stereotypical volleyball or basketball players, experience something new and feel included in phys ed program,” said Woloshyn.
Woloshyn was in Quebec earlier this year where he was trained to run the program that teaches fundamental movements such as throwing, kicking, jumping and running correctly.
The school implemented the program in February this year for its Grade 4 class. Although, it hasn’t fully taken off yet, Woloshyn is hopeful next school year will be different.
The program needs time to build, as it needs equipment such as juggling balls and juggling guards, which aren’t that hard to come by unlike the gymnastics equipment that’s also needed.
The school is currently working with a gymnastics club that wants to recycle its old equipment, making it useful for the school’s physical education class.
Even if the equipment comes at a cost, Woloshyn believes it’s worth the price tag given the feedback he receives from his students.
“The kids love it even the ones who normally want to sit out from phys ed class are right in there wanting to participate and learn new skills and have a blast,” he said.
The program is designed to help Little Timmys everywhere so they can shoot some hoops at any age because it teaches them fundamental movement skills. Teaching those skills at a young age lets them pick up a tennis racket or a frisbee even when they are older.
“So when they get to be older and want to go and try something new they don’t feel embarrassed or feel like they shouldn’t try it because we have equipped them with the right tools to take that task on,” he explained.