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Scarsdale Physical Education Looks At Past, Present, Future

One of the photos on display in Scarsdale High School shows a physical education class in the 1920s.
One of the photos on display in Scarsdale High School shows a physical education class in the 1920s. Photo Credit: Donna Christopher

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Ray Pappalardi, Scarsdale High School director of Physical Education, Health, and Athletics, has taken a look back at how physical education classes were presented in the past.

Photos displayed at Scarsdale High School show classes in progress in the 1920s.

"Interestingly, while these photos tell us a bit about our past, they also provide a glimpse into our future," said Pappalardi.

Two of the photos in the "Brewster Lobby" show girls and boys classes, side by side.

In each class there are several pieces of apparatus set up with horsehair mats to provide cushioned landings.

A horizontal bar, horizontal ladder, parallel bars, still rings, swinging rings, wall bars, benches and climbing ropes can be seen in the boys' photo.

The girls' photo includes balance beams, a pommel/vaulting horse, and replaces climbing ropes with vertical rope ladders, Pappalardi said.

The activities the students are engaging in is called performing or "spotting."

While the early 20th century dates each photo via student uniforms and construction of the equipment, "the curriculum is clearly progressive," according to Pappalardi.

The multiple and diverse nature of the apparatus offered a variety of training and developmental options. The setting allowed for differentiation and personalization of instruction at a time when cohort instruction prevailed.

The classes provided opportunity for the development of both health and skill-related fitness components in an environment that required moderate to vigorous physical activity.

The classes depicted in the old photos show "a progressive approach with the current fitness units at Scarsdale High School," he said.

Today, the program includes Start-up Fitness, Fitness Fundamentals, Principles of Modern Fitness, iFit, and Raider Fit allowing students to develop skill and health-related fitness.

Each unit provides a basis of content knowledge with an emphasis on performing functional movements with proper technique.

Students are expected to extend their knowledge through development of personalized plans and monitoring their own individual progress, Pappalardi said.

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