Physical Education Works Up A Sweat

December 19, 2014

OLQA students are working up a sweat! Starting this year, students participate in bi-weekly physical education classes as part of a school focus on health and wellness. East Harlem is known for having high obesity and asthma rates, and OLQA’s gym program is helping to ensure that our students to do not add to those statistics.

Led by new gym teacher Mr. Eric D’Appolonia, students develop their level of fitness, strength and flexibility, as well as learn to play specific sports. And students are welcoming the exercise! The groaning students expressed when they first heard how many laps they had to jog around the gym has transformed into friendly competition as they increase the number of laps they are able to jog. Our youngest students in PreK-3 and PreK-4 have also benefitted from the increased movement. Their gym classes focus on the loco motor skills and eye-hand coordination so important for their development. This new gym program places high expectations on students and we have already seen their progress. “I love gym class,” says 7th grader Jacqueline L. “We’re doing a mix of activities and exercises – something different every day. I feel that my techniques are improving and I’m getting stronger.” The students’ growth is obvious outside the gym as well. As Mr. D’Appolonia explains, “My aim is for students to develop the skills and knowledge of physical fitness to continue exercising outside of school.”