TLS Gets Leg Up on Fitness

It’s second grade P.E. class at The Lexington School and kids can’t get to the Traversing Wall soon enough.

The newest addition to the school gym gets a  workout everyday as kids scamper across the face of the 10-foot by 40-foot wall.

Students are having too much fun to realize the important gross motor skills they’re developing like a strengthened core, sturdier upper arm and leg muscles and better agility and coordination.

These skills are just as crucial for academics as they are for fitness. Toddlers and preschoolers need core strength for everything from circle time to handwriting.

In recent years, TLS teachers noticed that some of their new students – like so many U.S. toddlers and preschoolers – lacked these skills.

They noticed, too, that all of their students benefitted from activities that built core strength.

Preschool Director Donna Hutton and Director of The Learning Center Jane Childers searched other schools for solutions and could find only two in Atlanta that provided a model that would work for The Lexington School.

These schools used equipment that looked more at home at an Occupational Therapy setting than a P.E. class.

Realizing that all of their preschool through third grade students could benefit, TLS consulted with Kraska & Associates, a local O.T. company, to help design proper equipment.

Now, in addition to the Traversing Wall, all P.E. students can use the Kid Lite Barrel, the Angle Ladder and Go-Go Roller.

In essence, these devices help students mimic the kind of play that children have enjoyed since time immemorial – pulling, pushing, crawling and swinging.

Over time, societal factors have conspired to jeopardize these activities so natural to childhood, and TLS has revived them.

Back on the preschool playground are a fire pole, zip line and even a tire swing. Physical fitness and play equipment can mimic those important skills kids get outside and in a natural environment.

The Lexington School may be the only school in the country not exclusively serving children with learning differences to use this equipment, but there’s no doubt who’s enjoying it the most – the students.

“I was so impressed when the kids first used this equipment,” Hutton said. “They were so excited and engaged. They couldn’t get enough of it.”

Gym class has been transformed by the new equipment, P.E. teacher Meredith McCoun said.

“We can now be curious and creative in completely different ways,” she said. “We are equipping kids with agility and balance. These are skills they need so they can run down a soccer field or shoot a basketball.”

And succeed in the classroom.