Parents are getting a workout during school programs previously reserved for student performances.
Hey, parents, jump up from those folding chairs and get out on the gym floor. Your child's physical education program isn't what it used to be.
Increasingly, PE teachers in Lawrence elementary schools are asking parents to participate in their children's annual programs. So parents are getting a workout, rather than sitting quietly in the gym as their children perform. The change is earning rave reviews from teachers, parents and children.
"I've had parents tell me they look forward to this every year -- getting to play with their kids," said Jeff McAdoo, who's taught physical education for the last six years at Quail Run School, 1130 Inverness Dr.
At McAdoo's most recent PE night the school gymnasium was packed with noisy third-graders and their noisy parents.
"I still haven't made one," Bob Trepinski complained to his 9-year-old son, Chris, as he ran after a bouncing basketball.
That delighted Chris.
But just hanging out with his dad was the best part of the night.
"I get to spend time with him," Chris said.
Bob Trepinski enjoyed the night and praised McAdoo for bringing adults and children together.
In addition to playing basketball, parents and their children scaled climbing walls that McAdoo built in the gym and they crossed the "broken bridge" -- a series of ropes hanging from the ceiling.
McAdoo also guided them through some concentration activities and endurance training.
"I'm here to teach these kids to be healthy," McAdoo told the parents.
Other teachers in the district see the merits of showing parents first-hand what their children are learning in physical education classes.
"We're trying to push that direction right now," said Gary Johnson, physical education curriculum coordinator. ``We can talk about what our program is, but parents are going to have certain perceptions of what it was when they went through (school). You're not going to change that unless they have some experience with what it is now."
Passing lifetime skills to students -- and, when possible, their parents -- is the goal, said Johnson, who also teaches at Southwest Junior High School, 2511 Inverness Dr., and Lawrence Alternative High School, 27th Street and Lawrence Avenue.
Mark Hodges, who teaches at Sunflower School, 2621 Inverness Dr., said he tries during his programs to give parents ideas of activities they can do at home with their children.
"Many times, the non-athletes turn into the leaders, and the athletes turn into the doers, and the pecking order changes," Hodges said.
Gary Hall has tried to impress on parents from Cordley and Pinckney schools the importance of being physically active. During his programs, students don't participate, but get to watch their parents in action.
"They've enjoyed it quite a bit," Hall said of the parents. "They feel like it's really interesting that they get a chance to get out there and do some of the things that their kids are doing."