By Mike Pearson, News staff
Rich Taylor doesn’t care if his students can make a layup or run the 100-metre dash in record time.
“You could be the worst athlete and still get an ‘A’ in my class,” said Taylor, a physical education teacher at Billy Green Elementary School.
The upper Stoney Creek school recently benefitted from a $25,000 donation from the Heritage Green Community Trust. The trust donation was used to purchase new phys ed equipment, including three Schwinn spin bikes, warrior ropes for upper body workouts, scooter boards, pull-up bars, resistance tubing stations and more.
The new equipment is helping students become more active and physically fit. But as Taylor explains, physical activity is more than just excelling on a sports field.
By using iPads to and heart rate monitors to record their workouts, students receive feedback on individual performances. As Taylor takes his students through a series of timed workout stations, students move from station to station while their progress is tracked.
Everyone gets a chance to use each aparatus. When the workout session is over, students finish with stretching and cool down exercises before sharing feedback on their efforts.
The goal for Taylor isn’t to see his students break school records, but to attain personal best performances.
“That’s what the real curriculum is,” said Taylor, “to be a lifelong learner. It just raises the awareness for personal health and fitness.”
For Taylor, the benefits of phys ed extend far beyond the gym. When students meet their personal fitness goals, they tend to fair better in the classroom and experience fewer behavioural problems, Taylor said.
“We try to get the kids not only physically fit, but mentally fit,” said Taylor.
Grade 8 student Alia O’Flaherty hopes to build upper body strength in preparation for high school sports. Her favourites are soccer, basketball and volleyball.
“I really enjoy having the new workouts that specialize in certain areas,” she said.
Robert Pitton is already familiar with an intense training routine after playing running back and linebacker in the Hamilton Wentworth Minor Football Association. He plans to play for the bantam rep Hamilton Hurricanes next season. While Robert already trains at an advanced level, he still enjoys the opportunity to work out at his own pace. Taylor’s classes provide an opportunity for all students to improve their personal best results.
“You’re not just playing dodgeball,” he said. “You get yourself ready and you get yourself fit.”
Kim Bailey, Heritage Green Community Trust administrator, was impressed following a recent visit to Billy Green.
“When the trustees went to the school and saw the new equipment and how it is being used it was absolutely amazing,” she stated in an email. “We found this was not about sports but physical fitness, which is something that will enhance all of the students’ lives.”
Since 1997, the Heritage Green Community Trust has distributed more than $2.1 million in grants to community, educational or charitable organizations in upper Stoney Creek.