The abundance of snow in recent weeks, coupled with COVID-19 guidelines to hold physical education classes outdoors as much as possible, have made the time just right for Newark Middle Schoolers to receive instruction in snowshoeing and sledding.
NMS PE teacher and Newark Central School District PE Leader Henry Kuperus said he, Michelle Cushman and Bill Kirnie, who also teach PE at the school, have been getting a “real good workout” as they’ve been teaching all in-school sixth, seventh and eighth graders to snowshoe during the first three weeks of February and began teaching them sledding at the beginning of this week.
Kuperus said there were mixed reactions to learning to snowshoe among students, but interest picked up as students were able to navigate wooded, hilly trails up behind NMS and Newark High School on their own. “Overall the reaction has been great,’’ he said.
NMS shares some athletic equipment use, like the snowshoes, with the high school.
Kuperus said he was heartened by the quick and caring response from some Middle School staffers after he sent out an e-mail Feb. 18th letting them know he needed sleds and saucers in order to begin teaching the sledding unit this week.
“By Monday morning (February 22) they’d brought 20 sleds to the gym for the kids to use,’’ he said, noting the District’s Athletic Office was unable recently to purchase any from suppliers because they had been sold out.
Kuperus said students’ seemed to enjoy sliding down the hills on the sleds and saucers and he was surprised how many students said they’d never been sledding before. And that made him happy.
Our objective in PE is to help students find something they enjoy doing so they will stay active,’’ he said. “We also want to give kids the opportunity to try things they may never have done outside of school.”