Class this week caused me to reflect on my own experiences with gymnastics and how much I loved it. It was always my favourite unit of PE throughout elementary school. It was always an exciting time walking into the gym and noticing the gymnastics equipment set up. I think the main reason I liked it is because it really felt like simple play. In my experience, gymnastics never had a distinct set of rules to follow, unlike other units such as basketball or volleyball. Of course we had to stay safe, but we were also able to explore new movements and positions our own way. We usually worked through stations and tried different moves. We were also given the opportunity to create our own gymnastics routine. I remember this being a highlight in Grade 3.
I think opportunities for kids to create their own routine or game is very important. My practicum class created their own game and the kids were very engaged. For the Pro D Day I attended a “5 steps to a happy classroom” workshop with Scott Hughes and he discussed the importance of play in the classroom. Creative play is an opportunity for kids to engage in their own learning and feel a sense of ownership over what they are doing. I think this can be applied to gymnastics and many other subjects. It allows students to be creative and to contribute to their own learning environment. I hope to bring many experiences like this to my future classroom!