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Physical education students gain experience teaching Morgan Academy preschoolers

ISSUED: 20 November 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Future physical education teachers at Shepherd University are gaining hands-on skills by working with preschool students from Morgan Academy. The preschoolers, who range in age from 3-5 years, walk to Shepherd once a week for an hour of physical activities designed by students in Shepherd’s Foundations of Health and Physical Education class taught by Dr. Julia Tracy.

“This is a first-year physical education course that focuses on fundamental movement, tumbling, and dance concepts,” Tracy said. “The preschool visits allow our students to practice teaching these concepts. The more teaching experience our students have, the better.”

This is the second year Shepherd students have worked with the Morgan Academy preschoolers.

“We love having the relationship with Shepherd because we can clearly see the benefit between our preschoolers and the Shepherd students,” said Annie Thompson, Morgan Academy preschool teacher. “There is no learning like hands-on learning. Especially when it comes to being a teacher, the best way to experience it is to work with children. It’s a great way for our students to develop more gross and fine motor skills, listen to other adults, and learn to work together as a team.”

Thompson said the preschoolers are excited they get to come to Shepherd each week.

“They love going on little field trips and they love getting to know these ‘big kids,’” Thompson said. “It’s a confidence-building exercise for them to leave their preschool to come here and be successful.”

During a recent field trip to Shepherd, parent Lindsey Kesecker observed her 4-year-old daughter Medena participating in games and activities that involved balancing, throwing and catching, and traveling designed by the Shepherd students to help the children develop balance and coordination. Kesecker said Medena asked her to come watch.

“I think it’s great that she has this opportunity,” Kesecker said. “She loves it and it’s so fun to watch the enthusiasm in both the preschoolers and college students. She loves the challenge and the reaction that she’s getting from the older students. I feel like they’re keeping her really engaged. She’s having fun and actually doesn’t know she’s learning.”

The Shepherd students, many of whom plan to become physical education teachers, said they like working with the preschoolers.

“I enjoy giving back to the kids and being able to see them and have fun with them and help them grow,” said Alissa Adams, a physical education major from Martinsburg. “It’s a good experience.”

“I like forming relationships with the kids and helping them learn different activities like jumping or balancing. I think it’s really neat,” said Lindsey Palmer, a physcial education major from Charles Town.

“I really enjoy working with the kids and learning how to teach them skills and learning how to advance my own teaching skills in the process,” said Tyler Ingram, a physical education major from Frederick, Maryland.

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