GI Elementary field day

A Golden Isles Elementary School student attempts to bowl down pineapples with a coconut during the ‘pineapple bowling’ relay in the school’s field day event last year.

The schedule at the end of every school year is packed with fun events that students look forward to.

Among those are schools’ annual field day programs, which give students a chance to spend a day playing games outside with their classmates.

Because schools are closed for the remainder of this academic year, due to the spread of COVID-19, students are having to miss out on a lot of their favorite end-of-year events.

A group of local P.E. coaches recently came together, though, and created a way for their students to still enjoy a field day this year, even while at home. They created a “virtual field day” video that includes a variety of activities students can participate in.

“We wanted to make a virtual field day video because we know how important this day is for all students,” said Matthew Hayslip, the P.E. instructor at Altama Elementary. “We wanted to develop something that still enabled them to have that special day and something that helped bring families closer.”

Glynn County Schools P.E. teachers collaborated to come up with activities that were unique and fun but also that didn’t require students to have many materials on hand.

“We wanted to create events that required as little equipment as possible,” said Tommy Beck, the P.E. teacher at Goodyear Elementary. “So we kept the events as simple as possible. We realize that not all kids have access to the same resources.”

Field days are a school tradition, Beck said. The program teaches students how to compete and how to be part of a team.

“Field day is something that kids look forward to all year,” he said. “We had just begun promoting and practicing field day events, when school was postponed. We knew the kids would be highly disappointed, so we thought, let’s still make this happen for them.”

P.E. teachers typically see their students daily, and making this video allowed the instructors to remind their students how much they care.

“I feel all educators across the nation know it is a necessity for teachers to maintain a constant line of communication,” Hayslip said. “I believe that staying in touch with our students gives them a sense of assurance, knowing that we care deeply for them and we stand together in this extremely difficult time.”

The instructors also wanted to encourage their students to stay physically active, even while learning from home, Beck said.

“It’s great to know that we have so many passionate elementary physical education teachers in Glynn County that are willing to come together and make this virtual field day such a success,” he said.

To share their virtual field day videos with their P.E. teachers, students are encouraged to upload the videos to their Google classroom account or send the videos through email. They can also share through social media by adding the tag #glynnvirtualfieldday.

“Field day activities are important because it lets kids be kids,” Hayslip said. “These activities let the students not only have fun in a safe setting, but allows for students to continue to be active.”

The virtual field day is available online at youtube.com/watch?v=LmKoAEliZnM.

Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at lmcdonald@thebrunswicknews.com to suggest a topic for a column.

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