WKU faculty empower homeschool youth with tailored physical and health education programs

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Homeschool children and youth in the Bowling Green community are benefiting from a unique opportunity at Western Kentucky University (WKU) to enhance their physical and health education. Aimed at children aged 2 to 17, these weekly programs offer a diverse range of activities tailored to different age groups.

Under the guidance of WKU faculty, Drs. Jean Chen, D’Lee Babb, and Stephanie Jernigan, the programs are designed to foster the development of motor skills in younger participants and deepen the understanding of nutrition and fitness in older children. With four distinct programs – PreK Movement Education (PKM), Early Childhood Movement Education (ECM), Physical Education (PE), and Health Education (HE) – children engage in age-appropriate activities that promote holistic development.

One of the unique aspects of these programs is the involvement of WKU undergraduate students. Twenty-three students actively participate each week, gaining hands-on experience in designing interventions, teaching, and conducting research. This collaboration not only enriches the learning experience of the undergraduate students but also contributes to the overall success of the programs.

Cindy Morales, a student majoring in Child and Family Services, said, “In our research project, we observe children. However, we are not just observing them; we are working towards fostering healthy habits that stick with them for life.”

“As a homeschool family, we are always looking for opportunities that engage and enrich our children in ways we might not be able to offer at home. My third and first graders had the opportunity to attend the physical education course last semester and gained many new skills that I wouldn’t have been able to teach them on my own. This semester, my preschooler is able to join and have the opportunity to learn new skills for his age level. I currently have children in all three courses offered and I am excited to see them each thrive individually in these atmospheres. We are extremely grateful for the options that WKU and the homeschool programs have opened for our family and fellow homeschool friends, and we hope these opportunities continue to be available as our children grow each year.” shared Kayla Super, mother of four.

To celebrate the culmination of a successful school year, an end-of-year celebration field day is scheduled for Friday, April 26, from 9:15 am to 11:30 am on the South Lawn. The event promises to be filled with excitement, featuring six physical activity stations, a handicraft station, a temporary tattoo station, and plenty of fun-filled activities for all participants.

Jacob Vincent, a physical education major, said, “To me, this homeschool program is a great learning experience for myself and my fellow PE majors. It gives us an opportunity to practice our teaching skills in front of an actual class. For the most part, we’ve only learned about teaching, whereas this gives us hands-on experience. Along with that, we can learn from our peers about different teaching styles and what might best resonate with the kids that we’re teaching. At the end of the day, this program has been, and I think will continue to be, a great success for everyone involved.”

Contact Drs. Jean Chen (yuchun.chen@wku.edu), D’Lee Babb (dlee.babb@wku.edu), or Stephanie Jernigan (stephanie.jernigan@wku.edu) for more information.


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