Going Beyond Our Gates and Into the Playground
Pacific's Sport Pedagogy program has gone "beyond our gates" and into the playground. During the 2010 fall semester, Sport Sciences Professors Dr. Lara Killick and Dr. Darrin Kitchen piloted a new after-school physical activity program at nearby El Dorado Elementary School.
The program, which is staffed by Pacific students majoring in Sport Pedagogy, has just been selected to receive a $25,000 grant from the Health Plan of San Joaquin's Community Wellness Funding Program.
These funds will allow Drs. Killick and Kitchen to continue the program this spring at El Dorado, identified as a high-need school. They hope to eventually expand it to all 42 schools in the Stockton Unified School District. Sport Sciences graduate student Gina Carbonatto assists in managing the program, and undergraduate students are assigned to work at the school as teachers or evaluators.
Dubbed Tiger P.R.I.D.E. (Physical Activity, Recreation, Inclusion, Development and Enjoyment), the program currently involves 5th and 6th graders who participate in an 8-week session after school Monday through Thursday. Three key goals of the program are to:
Improve the children's physical fitness level
Improve their understanding of the importance of leading physically active lives
Promote their enjoyment of physical activities
Drs. Killick and Kitchen plan to make the program sustainable in part by integrating it into the Sport Pedagogy program, making participation by seniors a requirement. Since many of these students are planning to teach physical education or coach, this gives them practical experience.
"This program was incredibly valuable in preparation for my career as a PE teacher," said Sport Pedagogy major Dianna Snyder, who teaches the 5th graders. "Everything that I learned throughout the Sport Pedagogy program was put to use in the after-school activity program. Through this program I was able to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher and determine what I needed to improve upon—I began to become a better teacher."
The Pacific students found it rewarding to observe the positive effect the program had on the children. They noted improvement in their physical abilities as well as their attitudes.
Joey Gullikson, who served as a teacher in the fall, said, "As the program continued, the students began to listen, follow directions, and think for themselves."
Dr. Killick was involved in a similar program in England, as part of her undergraduate education at Durham University, which inspired her to develop Tiger P.R.I.D.E. for Stockton. The Stockton Unified School District has been very supportive of the program.
"I wanted to reach out within our immediate community, and this has been a win-win for all involved," said Dr. Killick.