MAPS: Physical Education at HIS

InstitutionsHolbrook Indian SchoolMAPS: Physical Education at HIS

For the past two months, we have been looking at MAPS, an acronym for the four pillars of the educational program at Holbrook Indian School (HIS).

These four pillars are:

In this month’s issue, we are looking at the P pillar: Physical. There are many things that contribute to our focus on the physical growth of our students. Today we will talk about one of them—our physical education program.

At HIS, we have four objectives for our physical education program. We encourage students to be physically active, get outside, have fun, and build relationships. These objectives hold for all levels, from elementary through junior high and high school. To accomplish this, we have schoolwide events and activities revolving around physical activity. These include intramural games, annual events, and a sports program.

Sports program
The sports program is for junior high and high school students. The program involves participation in events like cross-country and volleyball with other schools. It provides students the opportunity to develop specific physical skills while accomplishing the other objectives of physical activity. Physical education teacher Arbee Tabo was instrumental in creating this program, which began in 2018.

Intramural games have provided different physical activities around HIS for years. These schoolwide games involve students and staff playing together and are an effective means of building relationships. According to Tabo, “One of the purposes of intramurals is for students and staff to play together.” He adds that the games develop mentorship opportunities. In addition, the games provide an opportunity for staff who are not teachers to spend quality time with students.

Annual events
One of the annual events that involves physical activity is our Native American Heritage Day. In November, we honor Native American Heritage Month and dedicate a day to celebrating through v

arious festivities. In one of the day’s events, students participate in traditional Native American games. In doing so, not only do the students keep up their goal of being active, they also retain appreciation for their culture and heritage.

“A lot of them are quite challenging and relate to building skills,” said Tabo about the Native American games. “It’s surprising to see students who are not normally active really get into it when they play these native games.”

All of these activities are great motivators for our students and even our staff to remain active. Although students are required to participate in many of these schoolwide events, their willingness to participate is significantly greater than on other occasions, where it can seem like a case of doing it just because they have to.

Since the spread of COVID-19, activities like the sports program are currently on pause.

At the finish line: One of our annual events is a cross-country race, in which teachers and students participate.

Other activities have taken on a modified form. Still, the objectives remain the same: stay physically active, get outside, have fun, and build relationships.

As mentioned before, our physical education program is only one aspect of our focus on physical development. You can find out more about the other aspects by visiting our website,, where you will find out about programs such as sustainable farming, outdoor school, and equestrian facilitated learning (horsemanship).
By Chevon Petgrave

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MAPS: Physical Education at HIS

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