Inspired by research that shows the value of peer-to-peer instruction, Hewitt’s physical education (P.E.) department is committed to empowering students to take the lead in teaching others what they know. Our P.E. teachers model a lifelong commitment to health and wellness, and by the time our students reach the upper school, they have themselves become experts on the mental and physical benefits that come with incorporating activity into their daily routines. To share their knowledge, juniors and seniors developed active and engaging lessons for our second graders designed to encourage discussion about the importance of P.E. Whether leading second graders through a winter wonderland-themed yoga sequence or overseeing complex obstacle courses, the upper school students confidently stepped into their roles as teachers, sharing their passion for physical activity with their young students.
Our P.E. department invites girls of every age to step outside of their comfort zones, and juniors and seniors kept this in mind as they developed activities that not only motivated the second graders but also challenged them to try moving in new ways. The upper schoolers’ lessons varied greatly, incorporating everything from scooter tag cardio workouts to teamwork-based relay races to badminton games designed to emphasize hand-eye coordination. The student teachers also led yoga sequences to encourage stretching, flexibility, and mindfulness, a practice our lower school girls use regularly in their classrooms. After participating in these activities, students gathered in small groups to reflect on the question, “Why is P.E. good for me?” As they discussed the many benefits of physical education, second graders observed that exercise got their hearts racing, trying new activities made them feel strong and confident, and practicing yoga breathing helped them stay calm during stressful moments.
Eleventh and twelfth graders relied on their creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to design successful and engaging lessons, and the second graders got to flex those very same mental and physical muscles while also building meaningful connections with the “big girls” of Hewitt, who are important role models in our school community. After this joyful and energetic bonding experience, the older girls reflected on how much they appreciated the opportunity to share what they know about the mental and physical benefits of an active lifestyle, while the younger students were reminded that health and wellness is essential at every age. In true Hewitt fashion, the collaboration between some of our oldest and youngest students gave each girl an opportunity to use her voice and share her knowledge, reminding us that we all have something to contribute and that valuable learning occurs when students take the lead.