Thursday, September 16, 2010

1st Grade...Long handle objects

Is first grade too soon to implement games or activites that involve long handled objects such as in lacrosse or hockey or golf?  At first I tried to think back on my personal P.E. class and if my memory serves me correctly we were playing floor hockey for as long as I can remember.  After reading the chapter and thinking about what I now know, I realize that it probably was to early for such an activity.  All of those sports have one major characteristic in common, they are all sports which require striking skills.  They also involve a very high number of stability movement skills, locomotor movement skills, as well as a tremendous amount of manipulative movement skills. Such sports would fall into the category of movement phrases, which combines stability, locomotor, and manipulative movements.  These are introduced only after the student has mastered the basic elements of a single fundamental movement. Now first graders are usually 5-6 years old, and at this age they are just beginning to be able to perform fundamental movements skills such as running maturely, catching, and throwing.  Striking is only able to be done in a mature horizontal pattern with a stationary ball, where as in lacrosse and hockey the ball or puck is not stationary.  There is a certain readiness that is needed for the students to be able to perform tasks sucessfully, and the first grade level the majority of the students just do not possess the needed movement skills to perform such a complex sport or game.  Yes, they may be able to perform some, or maybe even most of the skills individually, however once the skills are needed to be combined it is just too difficult. There is also the safety aspect of it.  Kids that have a long handled stick in their hands immediately want to whip it around like a baseball bat, or in floor hockey try to shoot slap shots.  This can be mentioned before hand obviously and warned about, however as we know not all kids are mature enough at that age to really comprehend how badly they could hurt another student. 

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