Parker educators know that students benefit physically and mentally when participating in sports and physical education (P.E.), which is why P.E. Department Chair Jarrad Phillips has made it his goal to help students find an activity that they like.
“Physical activity has a tremendous amount of positives for the brain period,” says Jarrad. “Our ultimate goal is for our students to find something they like and will keep them active for the rest of their life.”
Now his 15th year at Parker and third year as department chair, Jarrad says the best part of his job is working with his incredible team to create a curriculum that will encourage even the most sedentary student to be active. Last year, yoga was added to the Upper School P.E. curriculum and has become a very popular class.
“I love hearing students say, ‘I was so stressed going into yoga class and now I feel so relaxed,’” says Jarrad.
Jarrad acknowledges that dealing with stress is an important benefit of physical activity, but it isn’t the only life skill that students will take away from the experience. Skills like teamwork, overcoming challenges, encouraging teammates, and thinking strategically come into play when students are part of a team.
The Middle School physical education curriculum is structured to provide students in Grade 6 the opportunity to try a number of sports including volleyball, soccer, flag football, and basketball. When students get to Grades 7 and 8 they have the opportunity to choose a sport they would like to pursue. Middle School sports teams are just like any other team where they play with other schools.
“There is so much social and emotional work built into being a part of a team such as working through problems whether it is a disagreement between two teammates or working out a strategy on how to get through an opposing team’s defense,” says Jarrad.
“I know as a teacher and as a coach, there is nothing better than to see your students work together to come up with solutions and watch them be successful out on the field.”Jarrad Phillips
Jarrad’s philosophy when coaching his students is what he calls “guided discovery.” Instead of telling them what went wrong with a play, he poses the question, “What do you think went wrong?” and “How can we fix this?” His students work through problems, learn to give constructive criticism, and use encouraging language to help the team come together.
“I know as a teacher and as a coach, there is nothing better than to see your students work together to come up with solutions and watch them be successful out on the field.”