At Blake, physical education isn't just about improving health or building up athletic skills. Yes, students learn how to lead healthy, physically active lives – but in the process, they also develop valuable cognitive, emotional and social skills. Physical education builds character, self-discipline and decision-making capabilities.
Our mission is to create an atmosphere that is dynamic, but also safe and supportive. Every student is appropriately challenged and taught the skills he or she needs to succeed. Physical Education at the Lower and Middle School levels teaches students the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, self-expression and social collaboration. In addition, Physical education provides students with the knowledge, concepts and principles to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle long beyond their years at The Blake School. (Students may participate in organized sports beginning in middle school; all play a team sport for at least two seasons as Upper School students. See our Athletics page for details.)
Enduring Understandings: PK Through Grade 8
Our curriculum from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade is structured around four enduring understandings students can carry into future athletic pursuits. Students learn:
- to appreciate movement and exercise.
- skills needed for success in numerous physical activities.
- to assess and improve their own physical fitness.
- concepts and strategies to improve health and performance.
Physical, Cognitive and Emotional Skills
All Lower and Middle School students receive regular physical education instruction. Pre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners meet twice a week and first through fifth graders meet four times weekly for 30-minute classes. In Middle School, class time is extended to 50 minutes. The curriculum addresses the following content areas:
Movement Concepts • Body Management • Locomotor Movement • Manipulative Skills • Rhythmic Skills • Fitness Concepts • Aerobic Capacity • Muscular Strength • Muscular Endurance • Body Composition • Assessment • Flexibility • Self-Responsibility • Social Interaction • Group Dynamics • Psychological Skills • Combination Movement Patterns and Skills • Nutrition • Decision-Making • Aquatics • Rink Activities
After students reach Middle School, instruction continues to emphasize these concepts, skills and enduring understandings, with an increased focus on preparing students for participation in organized athletics.
A VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES: GRADES 6 & 7
Our program aims to expose sixth- and seventh-graders to a wide variety of athletic activities. In this way, co-ed physical education courses not only reinforce our four enduring understandings, but also provide an overview of varsity sports students can choose to pursue further. The curriculum also addresses physical fitness, wellness, aquatics, ice rink activities, cooperative activities and introductory weight training.
Discovering Individual Interests: Grade 8
Beginning in eighth grade, students have greater freedom to pursue the areas of physical education that interest them most. Students entering eighth grade are asked to rank their top five choices from ten elective course offerings. They are then enrolled in three of their choices, along with a required wellness course.
- Wellness empowers students to make well-informed and thoughtful decisions regarding their mental, physical and social development.
- Aquatics covers a variety of water activities swimming techniques, basic water rescue skills, diving, snorkeling and water games.
- Outdoor Education includes map reading, camping, shelter building, fire starting, cooking, fishing and boating safety.
- Cooperative Activities challenges students to go beyond perceived boundaries through peer collaborative efforts.
- The Mix provides students with the knowledge and skills to improve muscular strength, flexibility and fitness and implement a personal fitness program.
- Individual Sports (Outdoor) includes archery, biking, disc golf, golf, jogging, lawn bowling, rollerblading and tennis.
- Individual Sports (Indoor) includes badminton, ice skating, pickleball, table tennis and traversing wall.
- Competitive Team Sports (Outdoor) includes flag football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, speedball and Ultimate Frisbee.
- Competitive Team Sports (Indoor) includes basketball, big base, broomball, ice hockey, kickball, team handball and volleyball.
- Recreational Team Sports (Outdoor) includes flag football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, speedball and Ultimate Frisbee.
- Recreational Team Sports (Indoor) includes basketball, big base, broomball, ice hockey, kickball, team handball and volleyball.