Students participate in own Winter Olympics

Students in Mary Jo Lomanto's pre-k class at Kingsborough Elementary School pose on the Olympic podium after receiving gold medals Thursday in the school gym. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Pre-K students at Kingsborough Elementary School were awarded gold medals Thursday after successfully completing a weeklong unit on the Winter Olympics and participating in two events inspired by the Olympic Games.

Kingsborough pre-K teachers Mary Jo Lomanto and Sherry Boynton began a unit on the Winter Olympics last week to coincide with the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games.

“We’re just trying to give them a feel of what is happening in the world,” Lomanto said. “It’s a social studies event, talking about different people in the world, other languages and it’s a good source of physical activity.”

During their lessons on the Olympics, pre-K students have learned about South Korea, where the Winter Olympics are being held, the meaning behind the five Olympic rings, sportsmanship, team work, new vocabulary words on the featured competitions, Olympic athletes and talked about what the students have seen of the games at home using good language.

Lomanto, who previously taught at Meco Elementary School, said that she and Boynton had always taught pre-K students about the Olympic Games as it provides a variety of lessons. Teaching at Kingsborough for the first time this year, Lomanto said they were able to expand the unit to incorporate a gym component for the first time this year thanks to physical education teacher Josh Herod and the additional time provided by the school’s full day pre-K program.

A student in Mary Jo Lomanto's pre-K class at Kingsborough Elementary School is awarded a gold medal Thursday for participating in the Olympics in the school gym. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

In the physical education classes at the pre-K through second-grade school, Herod set up stations inspired by the Olympics for the students to participate in.

“I think it’s important. It promotes physical activity and allows them to experience what they’re seeing on TV in a modified way,” Herod said.

First- and second-grade classes have played games based off of the ski slalom, hockey, curling, speed skating and the biathlon using paper plates for skis and skates and throwing balls into targets.

Pre-K and kindergarten classes also participated in the biathlon using Roller Racers for skis and throwing balls into targets, hockey and dribbling balls up the net to take their shot.

To end the unit on the Olympics, Lomanto, Boynton and Herod organized a closing ceremony for the pre-K classes. Students made torches using paper towel rolls and tissue paper to carry as they marched down to the gym before participating in the organized games.

A student in Mary Jo Lomanto's pre-k class at Kingsborough Elementary School poses before participating in hockey during the Olympic games Thursday in the school gym. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

After the activities were complete, each student was called up to the Olympic podium Herod had set up using gym mats and were presented a gold medal for their efforts.

The students then took their place on the podium under a string of flags representing each of the countries participating in the Olympic Games and hula hoops painted and arranged to represent the Olympic rings.

Lomanto provided the medals and flags, while Herod provided and prepared the hula hoops.

“It’s just fun to watch how excited they get and they can’t wait to get their medals,” Lomanto said. “This was a teacher team effort.”

Once the gold medal ceremony was complete, students gathered their torches and marched out of the gym to close the games accompanied by the Olympic theme music.

Herod said that he would like to do a unit on the Olympics again based on the positive reaction from students, if not every year, then certainly in June 2020 before the next Summer Olympics. The next time Kingsborough hosts the event he would like to make sure enough gold medals are purchased for all of the students, not just the pre-K classes, to make the experience more memorable.

“This gives kids an idea of how it is done,” Herod said. “That this is something you can do and maybe qualify for when you’re older.”