At The Avery Coonley School, the Fightin' Seahorse Physical Education philosophy is to provide a variety of experiences and challenges for all students to foster a lifelong appreciation of physical fitness and wellness. The program is designed to allow students to explore movement and coordination through a variety of learning experiences in multiple environments and settings. Modified small-sided games provide students with a context where skills are better understood and applied.
"Students love the autonomy our program provides. Giving students choice and a voice whenever appropriate and feasible really increases engagement," says Adam Metcalf, Physical Educator and Department Chair at ACS. "Our students experience leadership roles such as coaches, referees, fitness trainers, equipment managers, and even publicists. Students learn to share, listen, and compromise by creating games of their own." Metcalf explains that in P.E., teachers support students by acting as facilitators, providing structure to keep things progressing, instead of over-scheduling or over-structuring kids' playful experiences. “My job is to blend the learning objectives with the joy and delight of movement during students’ time in P.E.,” Metcalf enthuses. “Over time, increased confidence and motivation to stay active are the byproducts of that journey."
According to Metcalf, the physical activity that students experience before school, during recess, and during P.E. class has great benefits for the brain as well. "Benefits include improved attention span, enhanced mood, and improved creativity and memory," he says. "Along with quality sleep and nutrition, daily quality physical education contributes strongly to student's cognitive, social, and emotional wellness."
What makes Metcalf most proud is how much ACS students, parents, teachers, and administrators have come to realize the enormous value of a quality physical education program. “Our Outdoor Adventure Unit is by far the students’ favorite,” Metcalf explains. “Using our beautiful campus and the adjacent forest preserve for our Instincts for Survival game is incredible for the students to experience and really brings to light the importance of positive interdependence, both with nature and each other."
For more information about the outstanding physical education program at The Avery Coonley School, please contact:
The Avery Coonley School
1400 Maple Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515