PE is a fun time for students at Kimberly Elementary School



KIMBERLY – It’s billed as 48 minutes of fun.

When Simon Olsen steps onto the floor with a group of Stricker Elementary students in Kimberly, it won’t be to teach math or history, but to instill in students, even at a young age, the importance of doing a lot exercise and stay physically fit.

But this physical education teacher is not there to make them spend a lot of time doing sit-ups and push-ups, but to have fun.

“We’re here to be fun teachers and give kids one more reason to come to school,” Olsen said.

Plus, it gives them a break from regular reading, writing, and arithmetic studies.

At Kimberly Elementary School, Kayla Hutcheson has some of the same philosophies.

“I love seeing them laughing and having fun and socializing,” Hutcheson said. “It’s my favorite part of the job.”

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The pair of physical education teachers teach students from kindergarten to grade five, with the older students having one 48-minute lesson a week and the younger ones having two lessons of 25 minutes each per week.

But that by itself, including the 50-minute recess, isn’t enough to ensure students will stay physically fit, Hutcheson said.

“I think it takes a team effort, from parents, teachers, and friends — even the lunch ladies,” she said.

The point Olsen tries to drive across to his students is to find something physical that you enjoy doing and do it.

“You don’t have to go to a gym,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how you train, but you can have fun.”

He teaches students many heart-pounding games. These games can also be used outside of class.

Olsen’s classes begin with a warm-up, often over a YouTube video. It can be a crazy video where students pretend to be Minions running down a street, dodging obstacles.

Once the warm-up is over, they could play tag.

“Kids play tag a lot,” Olsen said. “It incorporates cardio and also teaches other skills.”

One of Hutcheson’s students’ favorite activities is dodgeball, played with foam balls, not the hard rubber balls of years past.

“They always ask, ‘Is it dodgeball day? “, She said.

Olsen said one challenge he faces is kids who want to play video games or watch TV for long periods of time.

“It’s easy to waste a few hours staring at a screen,” he said.

But for the most part, Hutcheson said Kimberly students stay active because of the many opportunities available to them.

Along with emphasizing fitness, she also talks to students about healthy eating and being a good person.

“Sportsmanship and good citizenship are important in my book,” she said.

Bridget Tilton, district secretary, said she was impressed with Olsen and Hutcheson’s efforts.

“These two physical education teachers are exceptional and are able to help students learn to improve their health through movement and play,” she said, “as well as the importance of teamwork “.


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