Structure of Preschool Physical Education

by Steve Sanders, Tennessee Tech Univ.

The preschool child is different than the elementary or even the kindergarten child. These young children have different physical, social, and cognitive needs. To teach preschool children using the same class structure used with elementary physical education classes is not suggested.

It is recommended that the preschool class be no longer than thirty minutes in length and have no more than 12 to 14 children in a class at one time. Children at this age are best taught when the activities presented are changed frequently. For example, during a 30 minute class children might participate in 4 or 5 different activities. Each activity 5 to 6 minutes in length. These activities would then be repeated several times throughout the school year.

One suggested structure for a preschool class includes beginning the class with a locomotor/space awareness activity, then move to a manipulative activity (working on throwing, catching, striking, or kicking), a nonmanipulative activity (such as balancing, stretching, jumping), and conclude the class with some type of rhythm activity. This is only one example of a class structure that is being used by teachers throughout the country.

Whatever the structure, the key to being successful in teaching preschool is to provide a number of developmentally appropriate activities during each class and then to repeat those activities frequently during the school year.

October 1996
Copyright © 1996, PE Central

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