Physical Education Philosophy
The Physical Education Program at the University of Chicago Lab Schools encourages students to develop physical skills, coordination, and fitness and the teaches them concepts related to health fitness enhancement. The physical education program's goal is to provide students with a foundation for a lifetime of healthful pursuits. Students from kindergarten through high school encounter a variety of units in order to experience a wide range of games, sports, and activities that address fitness needs, developmental processes, and personal interest.
Nursery School Motor Development
Our long-range goal is to provide children with the inclination to participate in physical activities throughout life. Our program is designed to help children develop a foundation of basic motor skills with a goal of helping children feel competent in these skills. We provide opportunities for children to practice running, galloping, balancing, jumping, climbing, throwing, and catching. Our program includes both play and planned movement activities both indoors and outdoors.
Kindergarten and Lower School Physical Education Program
The joys of movement and play are important aspects of the physical education experience in the lower school. Activities in lower school physical education are designed to develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Activities are also designed to promote fitness and begin to develop an age-appropriate understanding of fitness concepts.
Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade
Students prepare for the "President's Challenge" which includes a series of health fitness assessments. Specifically, these assessments focus on cardiovascular fitness (distance run/walk), flexibility (sit and reach), muscular strength (push ups and curl ups), and speed agility (shuttle run). The dual intent of the program is to increase health fitness consciousness among students and to obtain information about the general health fitness levels of our student population.
Lower school physical education teachers pay particular attention to social development among students and take advantage of teachable moments as they occur in the normal course of playing and movement, Students are encouraged via the use of music, games, and manipulatives such as balls, scoops, bean bags, and parachutes to develop movement, rhythm, fine and gross motor skills.
Third and Fourth Grade
In third and fourth grade physical education students again prepare for the "President's Challenge" as they develop more skills, strength, flexibility, agility, and fitness. Third and fourth grade students become more adept at game playing and begin to learn rudimentary rules and skills involved in a large variety of games, sports, and physical fitness units. Included in the units are: swimming, track and field, soccer, softball and baseball, football, gymnastics and tumbling, basketball, dance, tennis, floor hockey, jump rope and adventure education.
Middle School Physical Education Program
Fifth and Sixth Grades
Age-appropriate activities are designed to promote the psychomotor and affective development of students in team, individual, aquatic, fitness, and rhythmic experiences. The emphasis is placed on basic skill development and organized games. Units, ranging from two to four weeks in length, are conducted in soccer, tennis, basketball, dance, tumbling, swimming, gymnastics, floor hockey, track, softball, and net games.
Seventh and Eighth Grades
Age-appropriate activities are designed to promote the psychomotor and affective development of students in team, individual, aquatic, fitness, and rhythmic experiences. The emphasis is placed on the development of more advanced skills and strategy in more highly organized activities and competitive situations. Units, ranging from two to four weeks in length, are conducted in soccer, touch football, tennis, volleyball, basketball, adventure education, fitness center, swimming, gymnastics and softball. In addition, both seventh and eighth graders participate in elective units during spring quarter. These electives include a wide range of options designed to allow students the opportunity to explore new activities.
High School Physical Education Program
The freshman, sophomore, and junior physical education curriculum is a semi-elective program designed to give each student the opportunity to explore a variety of activities while learning health fitness concepts. All students complete required units in dance, swimming, fitness center, principles of fitness, and CPR certification. Beyond those requirements, students are free to choose courses from among a large list of games, sports, and fitness oriented specialties that include: Adventure Education, Badminton, Basketball, Distance Running, Fencing, Fitness Center, Floor Hockey/Indoor Soccer, General Swim, Golf, Gymnastics, Instructional Swim, Jazz Dance, Lacrosse, Life Guarding, Principles of Fitness, Self Defense, Soccer, Social Dance, Softball/Games, Synchronized Swim, Tap Dance, Team Handball, Tennis, Touch Football/Ultimate, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Yoga/Pilates.