Gone are the days dodgeball, basketball, and other traditional physical education sports, as one school is swapping these for a different physical education activity: yard work.
Students who attend the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in Dubuque, Iowa, are now able to receive PE credit when they assist senior citizens or people with disabilities with their landscaping needs. The people receiving the help aren’t the only ones benefiting from this new change.
The school itself is an institution, which aims to provide an alternative setting for junior and senior high school students who have struggled to succeed in a more traditional school setting.
The students are ones who have been identified as on the brink of completely dropping out of school. At ALC, they are able to focus on more project-based and independent learning opportunities, which are designed to get them back on track to graduation.
The landscaping program, in particular, has proven itself to be beneficial for both the students and the community. A teacher at the school, Tim Hitzler, told KWWL that giving the students this option during the final two weeks of classes is not only a great opportunity for them to give back, but also get in a decent workout.
Your standard yard work activities — such as mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, raking leaves, chopping firewood and weeding the garden — can all offer a significant calorie burn, in addition to providing the benefits of average cardio or strength-training workout.
Students are also able to choose from a number of different yard work activities, like cleaning up golf courses or a river barge, in order to fulfill their PE requirements. Regardless, Hitzler very much believes that the act of helping others is what leads the program to be so impactful.
“The students aren’t typically too excited at the beginning but once they get involved and start doing the yard work they become more motivated,” Hitzler said. “What they really like is … helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person.”
The program has become so popular, that some of the students are choosing to continue their volunteer work over the coming summer months.
“I’ve had students that graduated that have come back to help,” Hitzler spoke to People. “There’s something about helping people that really need it.”
Isn’t it a great idea? Tell us what you think of the program.