Movement is a vital component in brain development and is, therefore, inherent in the Montessori environment. In addition to the movement activities in the classroom (such as walking on the line), all students participate in Physical Education classes. Through interaction with classmates and instruction from the PE teacher, children have a lot of fun developing their bodies and social skills. Students 2-5 years old have no focus on competition, while for Elementary aged students, developing healthy competition skills and good sportsmanship is important.
MSM has a large soccer field, an outdoor Sports Court with basketball nets, and an indoor physical education space in the Multi-Purpose room. Toddler and Primary students work on large motor skills, balance and coordination, and very basic ball handling and sports skills. Older children receive instruction on a variety of sports, and many other skills are explored through various tumbling and sports equipment. Students also learn yoga, stretching, calisthenics, and nutrition. The annual Field Day for grades K-6 is held in May.
Toddlers enjoy Physical Education once a week for 20 minutes. Watching Toddlers in the gym can be the most fun that some of us have all day! The main focus of PE class for this age group is gross motor control and cooperation with the group. They enjoy activities such as running, jumping, balancing, and playing with balls. (Each Toddler must have his or her own ball!)
Primary students aged 3-5 enjoy Physical Education classes once a week for 30 minutes. During this time, we focus on developing and enhancing basic gross motor skills and manipulative skills such as running, jumping, hopping, landing, throwing, catching, bouncing, and kicking. Developing fundamental movement patterns is the primary focus at this age as well as beginning development of balancing and body control. Students will begin to learn key movement concepts that help them participate in a variety of games and activities. They will be introduced to basic concepts of how their bodies react to vigorous physical activity such as increased heart rate and breathing. Children will be encouraged to develop a positive attitude for leading a healthy, active lifestyle, and will be introduced to the food groups. Rhythm will be practiced through the use of rhythm sticks and integration with the music curriculum. Kindergarten students have PE for 40 minutes once a week, and are in a separate group from their Primary classmates, so that they may develop physical skills appropriate for their age.
Lower Elementary students attend Physical Education classes twice a week through a one hour class and 30 minutes of P.E. recess. During class we will work on refining basic locomotor skills such as running, jumping, hopping, landing, and skipping. We will also work on ball handling skills such as tossing, catching, throwing, rolling, dribbling, and kicking, both individually and with partners and groups. Students will begin to understand movement concepts such as pathways, speed, force, and direction. We also begin to increase aerobic activity and flexibility and perform more muscle and bone strengthening activities. Rhythm will be practiced through the use of rhythm sticks and basic dance moves. Students will be educated on the importance of physical activity in their lives and encouraged to develop a positive attitude for leading healthy, active lifestyles. We will discuss basic nutritional needs and explore how the body reacts to vigorous physical activity. Each child is always encouraged to work toward his/her personal best while incorporating teamwork and sportsmanship.
Upper Elementary students attend Physical Education classes twice a week through a one hour class and 30 minutes of P.E. recess. In these classes, students will combine fundamental movement skills into more complex motor patterns through participation in games, sports, dance, and other physical activities. The focus will be on skill development with an increased use of cooperative and competitive small-group games. We also learn about sports and recreational activities of various cultures. Emphasis will be on doing movements correctly and honing body awareness and control. We have discussions on proper nutrition and the impact of nutrition and physical activity to promote healthy, active lifestyles. Students are encouraged to work towards his/her personal best and to seek opportunities for regular physical activity outside of school. At this age, students will practice specialized skills alone, with a partner, and in small groups.
In addition to PE classes, Elementary students begin their day twice a week with yoga stretches and exercises. This helps the brain and body work together for optimal learning.