Kate’s Movement Journal Post- Gymnastics

This was an interesting class for me because I have been struggling with the sacred space that gymnastics seems to hold in the PE curriculum. Since the beginning of our course I have been wondering about whether gymnastics should feature so prominently in PE education. My concern is that gymnastics is not really an activity that many people continue to engage in, after leaving school. I think that in terms of preparing children to be physically active adults , it is important that we expose them to sports and activities that they can continue to enjoy when they are adults.

I can see that gymnastics is a good way to teach fundamental movement skills but I wonder if the same skills could be taught just as easily with activities like dance and yoga, which don’t have the same age and equipment limitations that gymnastics does.  I considered this with my own daughter and I have steered her into dance classes instead of gymnastics, because I that a passion and some competence with dance will serve her better in the long term.

All that being said, I had forgotten how fun gymnastics is until our class last week. There is something about gymnastics that seems perfectly suited to the temperament of elementary school aged children.  And while few people go on to be professional gymnasts, class last week reminded me that gymnastics skills, such as cartwheels, round offs and handstands, do stay with you your whole life and can provide a lot of fun, even if only while mucking around at the beach or in the park.

3 thoughts on “Kate’s Movement Journal Post- Gymnastics”

  1. Hi Kate!

    I too really struggled with the concept of including gymnastics in elementary physical education. In first considering this, I thought that it didn’t have any real-world application: like you say, in preparing children to become lifelong physically active individuals, it isn’t particularly an activity that people carry forward in their lives (unless you become a competing gymnast, of course!). I think you make a good point too about the number of activities around now that incorporate similar fundamental movement skills, like Yoga. I don’t recall Yoga ever being mentioned when I was in school, (although this may have been before it became ‘hip’). I always dreaded gymnastics as I found it slow and boring, and wasn’t particularly great at any of the movements. But participating in the group teach on Wednesday allowed for me to gain some understanding of how it can be implemented at a basic level, and I see how important it could be for younger elementary children in gaining an understanding of how their bodies move and balance. I thought the girls did a great job in the pacing of the lesson, and allowing us to get more creative with the movements. On top of this, being let loose in the gymnastics room was a fun experience, and it showed that we’re all just big kids at heart! I realized that no matter how many times you set limits regarding jumping on equipment, you will always have that one student who can’t help themselves…

  2. Your post really resonated with me because I’ve always wondered why in PE we focus on sports, such as gymnastics, which we don’t really ever participate in again. As a child I loved gymnastics so I can see how its a fun sport to introduce to elementary school students, but as you mentioned I think perhaps yoga or dance is a lot more applicable when you think of skills to have further down the line.
    I felt like this weeks group teach did a great job of introducing gymnastics to the classroom in a way that focused more on fundamental skills, in this case balance, than being a gymnast. They made using gymnastics in the classroom seem more tangible and applicable to other sports and adult life.
    I’m looking forward to our yoga and dance group teaches to see how they differ from gymnastics as yoga especially is something we didn’t have in school when I was growing up.

  3. Hi Kate!

    I really enjoyed your comments! I do agree with your opinion, as I too don’t see gymnastics as being something that many individuals carry on throughout their lives. I do also agree that gymnastics may pose a time where young children learn basic fundamental skills such as balancing, hopping, jumping etc. I have a friend who takes her 2 year old son to gymnastics and at first I was like “really?”
    I like how flexible and well-rounded your thoughts are. I did both gymnastics and dance growing up and I remember dance being way more applicable and fun for me. A big part of my worry with gymnastics is children getting injured… but in saying that I’m sure that there are many safety precautions set in place to avoid that.
    As a teacher, I feel like I wouldn’t necessarily bring gymnastics into my PE class, but I would be open to having a gymnastics teacher come in to do a workshop. I would also keep in mind that students may already be taking gymnastics outside of school or maybe they were already put through gymnastics, so maybe writing the parents an email for their input and feedback? Or maybe that will just confuse things even more!! 😉

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