This is a follow up to my (Feb. 6, 2017) “50 Million Strong by 2029 –It Starts with Us!” essay. In that essay, I explained that I had connected a class of Pre-K Head Start students with twelve high school ‘PE Buddies’ in a special 50 Million Strong project – ‘Play, Learn, Grow’. At that time, we were only a few weeks into our adventure together but had already received many positive comments.
The project ran on Tuesday mornings and into lunch time. These were green shirt days and moments of huge anticipation where young Pre-K students met and spent time with older PE Buddies. As a result, over the course of this school year, we have become ‘Stronger Together.’
The ‘Play, Learn, Grow’ program was designed so each high school volunteer had one to two Pre K children with whom they were paired (Buddies). High school students helped to facilitate instructional PE lessons involving fundamental skills, integrated curriculum, inclusion, adherence to the school PBIS goals and just plain having fun during physical activity. Special bonds developed between all and these turned routine skill acquisition into magical experiences.
After attending SHAPE America sessions where the 50 Million Strong by 2029 commitment was unveiled and explained, I began thinking, “What can I do as an individual to further this exciting vision?” As a retired secondary HPE teacher – coach, I now work facilitating our Sheboygan (WI) Area School District’s Pre K PE program in what began as an Emeritus project. The Early Learning Center houses approximately 600 children ages 3 – 5. These are the graduating students of 2029, so what better place to begin promoting 50 Million Strong!
During the preparation of developing a plan to promote 50 Million Strong, I developed the following eight guidelines to help us reach the SHAPE America goal:
- Design/implement lessons teaching fundamental skills based upon standards and assessments.
- Integrate curriculum using literacy, math; PBIS (positive behavior according to a school goal).
- Place emphasis upon physical activity.
- Offer activity events (JRFH, FUTP60, etc.) that involve parent- child interaction of a physical nature.
- Conduct parent/other adult educational workshops relative to PE & H literacy.
- Promote Health Education inclusion.
- Seek out community partnership.
- Expand activities into the community beyond school.
When teaching, I regularly followed the first five guidelines, but after the information came out about 50 Million Strong I thought I could do more: