Field Day, a 27-year-old spring tradition at Brookwood, remained largely unchanged for years - games and potato sack races for the youngest students, and hurdles, the relay and the perimeter run for older kids. Beginning last year, however, Brookwood Physical Education teachers put a new spin on the old favorite.
“Field Day was always a great day and a real community favorite,” says Athletic Director Jane Pirie. “But when we looked at its format, we thought it was time for a change so that the activities resembled what our students are actually doing in PE.” The department set to work and soon this “celebration of a year of PE” included new activities, new experiences, a new mindset, and a new name – Turf Day.
This year, both the Lower School's and Middle School's events were held the first week in June. And while Lower School's Field Day remained largely unchanged, Middle School's Turf Day included many new features as it did in its inaugural year. Assistant Athletic Director and PE teacher Mike Wellington explains that fourth and fifth graders were blended into mixed-grade teams and took part in age-appropriate activities such as sideways soccer (both goals are on the same end of the field), Sabakiball, and All In (an entire team tries to fit inside a hula hoop) that focused on fun. The set-up also highlighted what this age-group enjoys most, promoted connection between the two Middle School grades, and offered fifth graders leadership opportunities. The eight Turf Day stations featured activities and games that incorporate what the students have been exposed to in PE throughout the year.
“The rotations featured a cooperative activity and a few team activities, all of which focused on participation, team work, some risk taking, and sportsmanship while keeping the element of fun at the fore front,” says Jane Pirie.
“Ask almost any fourth or fifth grader what they enjoy most, and it will more than likely involve some activity with peers either in play or working towards a common goal. Children enjoy being with each other and working together,” says Middle School Coordinator Lisa Johnson. “We wanted to give them a developmentally appropriate physical activity that allowed them to simultaneously cooperate with their teammates while competing against another team. At the end of the day we want each child to feel that the team’s success could only have been achieved with all working together towards a common goal.”
Mike Wellington adds that the changes made a great event even better. “Turf Day is one of the best days of the year. Everybody’s out having a good time, and the spirit of Brookwood is on full display,” he says. “The new format really reflects the values of our community and meshes perfectly with who we are.”