By Jovanna Ledesma
At the beginning of the year, being the new kindergarten teacher, I felt nervous. I was asked to be the “P.E.teacher” for the new Kindergarten class in the Olive Room. I was excited; I had many different plans for the children. I set out games for the children that had them separated into two teams. We came across a few challenges. While playing, the children began to be competitive in the games. I noticed the children not participating or hurting each other. I soon realized I needed to change something. Dawn and I talked with the children about being kind when playing games with each other. The children made suggestions about what to say to the other team members when they did not win.
Diego: “Nice try.”
Tyler: “Good game.”
I reflected on what the children needed. I noticed the energy the children came in with every morning. They needed to move their bodies. Dawn and I wondered if moving P.E in the morning would meet their need to move. I modified the games to be collaborative. Games like “The floor is lava,” or relay racing as a group, obstacle courses, and more. I wanted the children to challenge their bodies rather than someone else in the group.
At the beginning of the year, the children were focused on being the winners of the game. The joy for the game was lost. I observed how they gained so much more confidence from playing the collaborative games. I wonder what it was about changing the time that had the children engaged in the game. What was it about the collaborative games that had the children feeling confident and willing to play?
The following days the children came in excited to do the movement. They came in as Quincey did asking me, “Hey Jovanna, what are we doing for movement?” After playing the games, a few children would ask to keep playing the games. We would ask if they wanted to continue them in the courtyard. There were times where the children said they did not want to do the games. We let them know that they can try playing the game once. Most of the time, after playing it once, they continued to play the games. They end up liking it and saying things like Diego, “That was fun Jovanna.”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I wonder if the children in the Olive Room will remember how it felt to be part of a team. What will they do when they leave this school with the skills they gained through our movement games? I hope they feel the energy and love Dawn and I both gave to them to have the best time here at Little Owl.