Gym City Teaches Kids about Real Cities 

John Paulding students ride through a cardboard community as part of Gym City.

It is important for young children to learn about a community and the world around them. One way that John Paulding School in Tarrytown instills this concept with students is through Gym City. Physical Education teacher Ryan O’Rourke creates a city from cardboard boxes and the pre-k and kindergarten students ride through the “neighborhood” on scooters. They learn about following directions and what one can discover in a community. 

Gym City is something I looked forward to when I was a student,” said O’Rourke. “I will always remember the excitement leading up to the event and learning the proper way to ride a scooter.” 

This year, O’Rourke made some changes to the layout of Gym City, to ensure students remained socially distanced and safe. Traditionally, Ryan created multiple city blocks with a four-way intersection and a car wash, where students were sprayed with water bottles. This year, students rode through one large rectangle and the only car wash that happened was when the P.E. teachers sanitized the scooters between classes. 

O’Rourke reflected on the event. The fact that we were able to have Gym City this year is a huge success in my eyesGym City provided a social emotional boost for not only our students but our staff as well. It was something to get excited about and bring spirits up.” 

Students enjoyed Gym City for a week in mid-March. O’Rourke hopes next year that he can build a larger cardboard city for students to enjoy. 

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