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Welcome to Physical Education

Steve Maas Welcome to physical education, fostering a love for physical activity is a central theme of my thoughts and actions in the gym. Maria Montessori said, "play is the work of the child", while we play in the gym each day I hope your children develop health habits that last a lifetime. Please stop in anytime you have a chance and join the fun.

"The arts, sciences, humanities, physical education, languages and maths all have equal and central contributions to make to a student's education."  ~Sir Ken Robinson 


Steve Maas, Physical Education, Della Terra
B.A. Spring Arbor University, Family Life Education
AMS Primary Certification

The Children's House experience (1992- present):
Primary Guide
Physical Education Specialist


January 17, 2019

The children have spent several class periods learning the game of basketball these past weeks. As with most sports I try to teach the very basic skills and rules hoping to have students develop an interest and enjoy the game. We have looked at the layout of the court, basic skills and teamwork. The plan is to continue to build on this while not worrying too much about keeping score in an "real game". I will try to provide time for the oldest groups to play in game situations on a limited basis but having players with several years of team play going against those just learning to dribble has not been helpful in the past to either group in my experience. What is helpful is allowing more experienced children to share what they know and teach their classmates. We will continue to build our basketball skills most Tuesdays for the next month or so.

December 3, 2018

The students have been working with speed stacking quite a bit recently. It involves stacking cups in specific patterns and sequences using a timer. There is actually a World Speed Stacking Association which holds competitions and posts record times. There are several activities in which we are getting heart rates up,by running, doing squats and push-ups. I especially enjoy the hand eye coordination it brings to class but there are many other benefits. This activity is also a great way for kids that do not think of themselves as "athletic" to be the best. Most of you have probably seen a demonstration at some point but if not take a look at this video, your kids love it!


November 29, 2018

Gratitude has been a topic of conversation recently in the gym as I'm sure it has in your homes as well. This also provided a chance to point out that researchers can study humans and the effects of gratitude on our lives. Science is most often thought of as chemistry and physics experiments the students do in their classroom and it was fun to think about more possibilities for experimentation.

The kindergarten groups are the lucky recipients of help from two junior high students every Monday, Wednesday and Friday this year. The older students have enjoyed helping with parachute games and teaching the over hand throw, they've learned that teaching a skill is much different than practicing it alone. I believe it's a win-win situation.  It is great to see how much the younger kids look forward to seeing the junior high group each. The kindergartners will get to meet two different junior high students every six weeks throughout the year as they cycle through.

November 8, 2018

All of the ages have spent time recently working on their throwing and catching skills. The youngest children have practiced independently with yarn balls and with the two junior high helpers. The lower elementary students throw and catch a variety of objects both in games and just for practice while the upper elementary have enjoyed a game called long toss. Ball skills are enjoyed by most and beyond being fun help children to learn motor planning and visual attention. Some indirect benefits of ball games include good sportsmanship, self-esteem and persistence. Throwing and catching are skills where many children can see the benefit of practice by their rapid improvement. I hope some of you get time to be outdoors these last few weeks of fall to enjoy playing a bit of catch with your kids.

October 25, 2018

The gym groups have continued to learn a bit about food groups nutrition. Thank you to those of you who've been able to send in food packaging with labels.

During our recent staff retreat, we had the pleasure of working with Jen Cort on diversity, equity, justice and inclusion. I have always thought the student's time in the gym lends itself perfectly to discussions and lessons on social emotional learning and the time with Jen helped me to reinforce this. We have begun thinking about empathy this week while playing a variety of games. Understanding and identifying with other peoples feelings can help children as they grow and I hope that my efforts in this area may help just a bit. This type of work will continue to be a part of our physical education and health time together and as always your feedback is encouraged. Thank you!

October 11, 2018

In the gym over the next several weeks we will spend a bit of time thinking about nutrition and playing nutrition games. The youngest students have been introduced to food groups and encouraged to think about which groups the food at lunch and home belong in. The older groups are beginning to look at the new food labels and are becoming aware of how important what we put into our bodies is. As most of you know the food labels are required to change over the next several years to include updated serving size and added sugar content among other things. While I don't advocate students counting calories or sugar intake I do think it is important, as the become more independent that they begin to understand that what they are eating and drinking has an impact on their health. I always focus mostly on their activity level and just want to provide a balance. I hope our discussion and nutrition games will prompt further discussions at home.

September 27, 2018

I'd like to thank everyone that was able to help the Swingshift and the Stars event last Friday be such a success. We were able to raise over $20,000. The funds will support continuing education for faculty and staff, the scholarship fund and hopefully an additional van to transport student. I feel lucky to have been asked to do my part and am looking forward to November 16 when several of my coworkers and I will get the chance to participate in a lip-sync battle. I hope that you will consider attending. It is a fun evening and you get the chance to support your child's school.

September 13, 2018

Hopefully your family is settling into the new school year scheduled after the first couple of weeks. I am having fun getting to know all of the children again. The elementary students and I have been working on a classroom document we can all agree upon. It will include how students would like to feel while in the gym and expectations for physical education. The list is currently several pages long with many repeats, as we continue our discussion we'll reduce it to a single page and everyone will sign it. It can serve as a reminder for the entire year when needed. By allowing children to take ownership of their environment, I hope they know I value their thoughts. They may also begin to see collaboration is a good thing and will certainly know and understand the rules. It always takes several weeks to finalize this because we only use a few minutes each class period so that everyone lots of time to be active.

This page last updated on 1/17/2019.

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