It was December 2017, and Dan Jeffries '18 was dressed up as a one-eyed yellow cartoon Minion straight out of Despicable Me.
It was December 2017, and Dan Jeffries ’18 was dressed up as a one-eyed yellow cartoon Minion straight out of Despicable Me. Was this some sort of fraternity prank? No. Just the exciting culmination of his Physical Education Elementary Methods class.
This year, as they have every year for over 25 years, more than 100 students from the Barack Obama Elementary School in Hempstead, New York, took a field trip to Adelphi’s Center for Recreation and Sports gym. Jeffries and his fellow costumed classmates had designed active games around a Pixar theme, and for almost three hours that morning the kids danced, ran, shouted and played.
Approximately one in six children in the United States is obese, and the problem disproportionately affects those from lower-income families. That makes the long-standing partnership between Adelphi’s Department of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education and Sport Management and the Hempstead public schools, in which 70 percent of children come from families on some form of public assistance, all the more beneficial for everyone involved.
While it was fun and games for the kids, for Jeffries and the other future teachers, it was a chance to practice what they’d been learning. “It was definitely a great classroom management experience,” he said. “The kids were constantly rotating. They’re excited from the last game, and you have to reel them in.”
Jeffries, 30, didn’t always plan to become a physical education teacher. He started off pursuing criminal justice but found it wasn’t the right fit. His experience as an Adelphi physical education major changed that. Now Jeffries can see his future clearly: helping kids learn how to be active and, just as important, he said, why to be active.
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