P.E. keeps bodies in tune with minds
“One- one, two- one, three- one, four- one,” the children shout in unison while doing their jumping jacks or touching their toes.
Physical education in the elementary schools in Newton County has become more than an hour spent playing games while the teacher sits under a tree.
For the students it is exercising to music, hula hooping, team sports or playing ball with a friend. For the teachers, it is a chance to work on in- service training while the children are at play.
“The program got started because we wanted every elementary school child to have a chance to take PE. We didn’t have enough trained PE teachers, so we have 133 juniors and seniors from the high school who serve as aides to the PE teachers,” said Jack Smalley, athletic director at Newton County Comprehensive High School, who heads up the system- wide physical education program.
Sandra Weber teaches physical education to students at East Newton Elementary School, Heard- Mixon Elementary School and Mansfield Elementary School while Ellen Broadnax teaches at Livingston Elementary School. Debbie Strickland and Nancy Thrasher teach at E. L. Ficquett Elementary School, with Debbie Pender at Palmer Stone Elementary School and Pam Dew at Porterdale Elementary School.
“Every child in Newton County has 35 to 40 minutes of physical education Tuesday through Friday. On Mondays, the PE teachers go over the program with the student aides and plan what they’re going to do for the next four days. On Mondays, the classroom teachers teach them health. The basic concept of the program is that a child’s mind is only as good as his body. It helps discipline- wise in that they can blow off steam,” said Smalley.
At East Newton Elementary School, student aides Sharon Shield, Jill O’Kelley, Gail Newsome and Anita Still claim the pro- gram helps the children “learn to share in group work.”
For the student aides who participate in the “Physical Education Apprenticeship” course, the program means academic credit and an opportunity to work with children.
“The program is coming along real fine. We’ve bought quite a bit of equipment and I think it’s going real good,” said Smalley.
For the children, physical education not only means exercises, but a chance to jump rope with a friend, see how long you can hula hoop or simply enjoy playing on the swings.
NOVEMBER 26, 1974