Curriculum Corner: How Sports Help Develop the Whole Boy

In this week's Curriculum Corner, Interim Director of Athletics Jason Thomas discusses the importance of sports in developing the whole boy.
Lower School P.E. is a safe environment where the boys can run, jump, shout, and sometimes fall while learning how to handle themselves in joyful and challenging situations. We have been learning a number of different games to improve their hand-eye coordination, balance, teamwork, and listening skills. Every day boys are encouraged to focus on effort, safety, honesty, and sportsmanship. My aim is always to have them leave P.E. class sweaty, and with a big smile on their face.
Students need breaks during their school day to rest their brains and engage their bodies. This helps maintain a greater attention span and ability to focus for the rest of the day. Children that are able to have short bursts of exercise throughout their day show increased levels of concentration.  Exercise also stimulates brain growth and helps improve memory. Therefore, our P.E. classes are designed to be stimulating and physical. As soon as the boys get to P.E., we have them immediately start playing a warm-up game, followed by games that encourage skill and strategy.  After the high-energy games, we calm down and get ourselves ready to transition back into the classroom.The boys do this by sitting in a circle and talking about the positive aspects of the game that was played and take at least three deep breaths following the teacher’s movements. This demonstrates that their minds and bodies are ready to go on to their next class.
Teaching different motor skills with a variety of equipment, at an early age, helps boys' competence and confidence in a variety of sports.  Each unit begins by allowing the boys time to develop their skills in small groups or individually with the equipment we will be using. This helps the boys improve at their own rate in a non-competitive setting. Once the boys develop confidence with the equipment, they begin to play small games that make use of their new skills and encourage teamwork while abiding by the rules of the game. We also encourage the boys to make mistakes and practice skills that they may not be comfortable with, like using their non-dominant hand or balancing on one foot with their eyes closed. This pushes the boys to achieve goals through resilience and practice that they didn't initially think they could do.
While improving on the boys’ physical skills, we also focus on developing their social and emotional skills during P.E. Our boys face a wide range of emotions during P.E.  It is important to us to show the boys how to deal with difficult situations like losing, cheating, bragging, or possibly even getting hurt. We give the boys guidance to help them resolve their own conflicts. This involves a variety of strategies, including modeling and leading by example. We also speak with them about how to deal with positive situations like winning, showing appreciation, being empathetic, and helping one another to succeed. Overall, we want to help them become better friends with one another in the social environment of sports.
While sports can be very important to our boys, we emphasize strong character traits over winning and losing. CSB boys excel in leadership, trust, friendship, fairness, resilience, empathy, and sportsmanship, which will lead them to success on and off of the field.
If you have questions or comments about this week's Curriculum Corner, please contact Interim Director of Athletics Jason Thomas.

Cathedral School for Boys

1275 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 Main phone 415.771.6600 Fax 415.771.2547
Located in San Francisco, CA, Cathedral School for Boys is an independent elementary school for boys in grades K-8. Our mission is to provide an excellent education through intellectual inquiry and rigor that is centered in the Episcopal tradition and is respectful of and welcoming to people of all religious traditions and beliefs.