Ensworth is committed to the physical and mental well-being of all students. Thus, each student has a physical education and fitness program specifically tailored to their grade level.
This year, Ensworth has been embarking upon a self-study for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) reaccreditation process on the topic of student health and wellness with an emphasis on student anxiety and related mental health challenges. This focus area was chosen due to a marked increase in reports of anxiety among young children and teens in America. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms.”
The Physical Education (P.E.) program at the Lower/Middle School Campus and the Fitness program at the High School have as their foundation the knowledge that physical activity is good for both physical and mental health.
Kindergarteners begin their Ensworth journey with a P.E. curriculum around movement, cognition, and the social aspects of physical activity such as sportsmanship and teamwork. Students progress through the Lower School with an increase in the physical ability and endurance and in the complexity of the games. Daily P.E. classes continue through Grade 5, with Middle School students progressing to competitive sports and fitness assessments.
Building upon the strong physical education program at the Lower/Middle School Campus, the founders of the High School recognized the importance of enriching academic rigor with physical activity. The curriculum requires, for three or four days per week each semester, courses designed to improve flexibility, strength, cardiovascular endurance, and overall body composition through an individualized fitness program. Each student's program may involve weight training, aerobic training, plyometrics, and agility. Professional fitness instructors oversee the student’s progress in the custom-tailored fitness plan.
Megan Mitchell, Ph.D., Fitness Department Chair and Director of Wellness at the High School, describes the curriculum: "Fitness is an integral part of the Ensworth experience that will challenge our students both mentally and physically. Our goal as a department is to educate all of our students regarding the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle that they will want to continue when they graduate from Ensworth. We strive to be the leaders in the health and wellness field and value the opportunity that fitness class provides to build relationships with all of our students."