The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 18, 2000


Physical education and health curriculum is comprehensive

"The level of students' physical, emotional, social and intellectual health and well-being is strongly linked to academic success." This statement is from the report of the Carlisle Public School's physical education and health department which includes faculty members Margaret Heigl, Philip LaPalme, Lynne Carmel and nurse Kathy Horan.

Heigl said that the present physical education curriculum at the school is based on the Massachusetts State Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework which encourages the involvement of parents, school and community. The staff, Heigl explained, also tries to support the school's system-wide goals which emphasize developing the students' skills in decision-making, problem-solving and critical thinking. The hope is that by providing effective, relevant and appropriate health and physical education students will be encouraged towards responsible behavior, civility and high academic standards.

The curriculum includes established programs such as those which have regular coaching responsibilities, intramural programs (basketball, gymnastics, and floor hockey) and interscholastic programs (cross-country, field hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball). An interdisciplinary program, such as a time of creative dance and body expression for first-grade children called the whale unit, a unit on puberty for the fifth grade, and a unit on the Iditarod for the second grade are also in place. For the staff, there is a wellness day scheduled, as well as a walking club, aerobics class and CPR.

New programs

To this full offering, new programs have been added. The middle school students now have the opportunity to participate in an informal floor hockey game during recess and free time after lunch. Other offerings for the students are aerobics, kick boxing or movement within one's own space (Tao Bo) and a circuit-training unit during which students can move through eight stations to learn about their agility, heart rate, strength and flexibility. There is also an eighth-grade CPR certification program scheduled for the spring. Concord-Carlisle High School peer leaders and members from Students Against Drunk Driving plan to visit Carlisle students and give a presentation on social issues. These visits will also help eighth-graders with expectations when they make the transition into the high school.

New for the students in grades 5-8 will be training on issues of sexual harassment, harassment, bullying and name-calling. The fifth grade will be asked to do a community service project and the seventh grade will have a research project in conjunction with the seventh-grade academic teachers on such subjects as body systems, plant and animal systems.

The comprehensive Carlisle Middle School health matrix includes increasing students' awareness of nutrition labels and advertising campaigns, pollution in the air, water and inhalants. It covers stress management, self-esteem and identity issues, qualities of healthy relationships, proper food preparation, healthy eating patterns, hazard prevention, the value of exercising and body hygiene. Also integrated into the curriculum are sections enabling students to learn about the body systems, the reproductive anatomy, the endocrine system, digestive track, gender roles, contraception and reproductive health.

The kindergarten classes each receive instruction for one-half hour two times a week. In larger groupings, the first graders receive instruction two times a week. In grades 2-8, the classes meet in the gym two times a week and the sixth, seventh and eighth grades have a health class for 40 minutes once a week.

Later in the meeting, parent Sandy Savage stated that it was her impression that the Tao Bo form of kick boxing was a sport for maneuvers to teach self-defense. LaPalme responded that instruction for the sport was basically for fitness; the emphasis on defense was minor.

Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson commented, "We are blessed with a very strong and sensitive program."

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito