Whole Foods Market Grant: Volley for Skills, Smarts, and Friendship

  • School Year: 2016-2017
  • Applicants: Chris Kueffner, Lead Teacher
  • School: Whiting Lane
  • Subjects: Physical Health Education, Other ~ Positive Socialization, Personal Responsibility, Personal Growth

This grant will provide the equipment to initiate an after-school table tennis program for 4th and 5th graders at Whiting Lane Elementary School. This program will reinforce for some students, and introduce to many others, a safe, enjoyable, sociable game, a game that calls for skill, but readily embraces newcomers, a game that is both fun to play and fun to watch. It is a game in which neither size nor sex are important and in which strategy and thinking can be as valuable as physical skill. The core of this project aims to enhance physical and mental health while promoting positive social interactions. The initial program will be run after school, once a week, for one hour. The first meetings will focus on skill acquisition through a unique curriculum developed in Australia in addition to clarification and modeling of behavioral expectations and norms, conventions and rules of the game, associated vocabulary, and self-awareness. This program has direct connections to the West Hartford elementary PE curriculum and also aligns with the following two goals of our school system: 1) Advance achievement for all students and reduce disparity between and among groups and 2) Nurture the intellectual, physical and emotional well-being of students and create a safe and respectful learning community where all students are held to high expectations.

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