Originally published Oct. 16, 2018 by Wicked Local Pembroke.
By Adam Silva
A pilot program at Pembroke’s three elementary schools is taking P.E. class beyond dodgeball and running laps.
Physical education teachers from the three elementary schools made a progress report at the Tuesday, Oct. 16 school committee meeting on the first month-and-a-half of the program, which includes interactive health units.
The goal is to teach students about nutrition and help them better understand their growth and development. This goes along with their social and emotional growth that helps develop positive interpersonal relationships, according to Hobomock Elementary P.E. teacher Brittney Noons.
“The social-emotional piece has been a focus for the school district for a while now,” said North Pembroke Elementary P.E. teacher Brendan Mosher. “As a result of the wellness committee meetings that consist of a lot of nurses and a couple of community members, the nutritional piece is something that they thought was needed to help at the elementary level.”
MyPlate has replaced the food pyramid as the standard for teaching healthy eating, according to Mosher. Different colors on a plate represent the different food groups and the size of the colors represent how much of a food group is healthy.
Pembroke elementary students have P.E. class five times a month pending no holidays.
As the program is still in its infancy at the schools, not all of the facets have been introduced yet. Heart rate monitors and MyPlate games and activities will be rotated between the schools, according to Mosher.
“We piloted the program at the high school last year and I think the success they showed in the fall of last year was the catalyst for bringing it at the K-8 schools,” said Superintendent of Schools Erin Obey. “The reason we are doing it through P.E. is that we don’t have traditional health teachers at those schools. It’s spotty because it’s taught in some science sections and some of the P.E. classes, but not in a consistent curriculum like the health classes for all ninth-graders.”
Obey said she has received comments from parents throughout the years to bring back health classes. School committee member Patrick Chilcott announced his desire at the Oct. 16 school committee meeting for a health teacher at each school in the district, but budget restrictions prevent this from happening.
“This is a good first step to that happening,” said Obey. “I think the units will grow as time goes on and the positions are budget dependent. As the school committee works through their budget cycle this year and prioritizes, I would anticipate seeing health somewhere in their list of priorities. Whether it makes it to the top or the middle of the pack depends on what they are competing against.”
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