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Annual Field Day provides learning opportunity for ETBU students

November 3, 2022

East Texas Baptist University’s Kinesiology Department hosted its annual Field Day for over 300 Pre-K students from Marshall Early Childhood Center (MECC) on Monday, October 31. ETBU Kinesiology students led the attendees in various physical activities, ranging from parachute play and tricycle riding to obstacle course running.

“From its conception, the ETBU Kinesiology Department has always intended this event to be a community outreach,” ETBU Professor of Kinesiology Will Walker said. “Our intention was for MISD and Marshall to know that we are all part of a bigger family. Specifically, for the Pre-K attendees, however, we want to create positive memories of physical activity. All available research shows early instances of physical activity enjoyment correlate to participating in physical activity later in life.”

Students in ETBU’s Teaching Elementary Physical Education course are provided an opportunity to apply course content, practice their learned content in practical situations, strengthen their servant leadership skills, and build relationships with children and families in the local community.

“Our classes throughout the semester taught us how to properly approach this project with the young students of Marshall,” ETBU senior kinesiology wellness-management major Kennedy Brady said. “It wasn’t until the children began to show up that I realized it is not just about teaching physical education to these young children. We were placed there at that moment to serve and make a positive impact in these children’s lives. The most rewarding part of this project was getting to meet so many different personalities and see the excitement on the children’s faces. I truly believe that the field day project successfully impacted each of us and is an experience I will forever cherish.”

Field Day is more than a one-day activity for ETBU students. Prior to the event, students spend time carefully building lesson plans, specifically for the age range of children that attend the event. In addition, the students also practice teaching strategies, incorporating and applying effective use of wording and body language to elementary students.

“Each year, I am always overjoyed to see our students ‘step up’ beyond the personalities I see displayed in regular classes; when tasked with the MECC students, many come out of their shells in ways that I don’t anticipate,” Dr. Walker added. “I am most proud that over the previous 15 years, over 200 ETBU Kinesiology students have had this experience and are now serving God in a wide array of kinesiology-related jobs.”