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Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

Getting students into the habit of exercise and activity is an important part of providing a truly well-rounded education. While many schools are cutting back on Physical Education classes to save money or fit more schoolwork into the day, Sanford students continue to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.
Physical Education classes and participation on sports teams both provide knowledge and experience in different activities and address the social aspects of children's development. Our classes offer important opportunities for kids to be active; solve problems; and build skills, friendships, independence, and confidence. Physical activity also contributes to a greater sense of well-being, which has far-reaching benefits of its own.
Our goals are for students to move, have fun, and understand that being truly prepared for success in college and for life includes learning how to make fitness and healthy decision-making part of every day.

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Hughes Barber

    Hughes Barber 

    Asst. Athletic Director/Physical Education
  • Photo of Jamie Clark

    Jamie Clark 

    Physical Education & Health Instructor
  • Photo of Shannon Helmecki

    Shannon Helmecki 

    Physical Education & Health Chair, Physical Education & Health Instructor
  • Photo of Lisa Hutchinson

    Lisa Hutchinson 

    Physical Education & Health Instructor


Sanford’s Health curriculum begins as a separate subject in third grade but is woven into the curriculum as early as Preschool. Teachers engage students with creative, hands-on lessons on age-appropriate topics. Upper School health students put their knowledge to good use by presenting to lower and middle school students at our annual Health Fair. Every year more than 20 community agencies set up booths at the fair to help educate students about subjects such as fire safety and the dangers of smoking.

List of 3 items.

  • Preschool–2nd Grade

    Health is taught with a fun, hands-on approach. This is incorporated into our Physical Education classes.
  • 3rd–8th Grade

    Students in grades 3–8 learn about six major topics:
    • Nutrition and fitness
    • Family life and growth and development
    • Personal health
    • Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
    • Intentional and unintentional injuries
    • Community and environmental health
    We supplement information with guest speakers. A highlight of the eighth-grade curriculum is certification in American Red Cross First Aid and CPR. Our comprehensive Health Fair annually presents a variety of topics and introduces students to community providers.
  • Upper School

    Upper School students are encouraged to complete their one-semester health course requirement by the end of tenth grade. Students must take General Health and can take an additional elective of Athletic Training. Contact Shannon Helmecki or see the Upper School Curriculum Guide for more information on our course descriptions.

Physical Education

Sanford’s Physical Education program offers a planned sequence of experiences and activities designed to build the physical fitness, self-esteem, and self-image of each student.  Students enjoy tasks in a challenging and motivating environment that allow them to participate successfully.  In addition to teaching students skills that promote fitness, improve coordination, aid their development, and provide a basis to enjoy a lifetime of team and individual sports, our curriculum promotes a sense of group spirit and teamwork, and fosters peer interactions. 

Students in preschool through 6th grade participate in our physical education program. Interscholastic athletics begin in grade seven. To learn about our Athletics program click here.

List of 3 items.

  • Preschool–3rd Grade

    Our program flexibly allows for a significant range of ages, developmental abilities and skill levels. This permits our teachers to individualize activities so that students can progress, which results in self-respect and self-confidence. Teachers introduce the concept of being physically fit and play a variety of games with the students to get them moving, improve their motor skills, participate individually and with partners, and work cooperatively within a group. Our Physical Education faculty also work collaboratively with classroom teachers to choose activities that complement their units of study. 
  • 4th–6th Grade

    Students in grades 4–6 participate in Physical Education and attend a Health class to help them develop the self-awareness and self-respect that come through knowledge of one’s own body and one’s physical and emotional needs. Physical Education classes emphasize building both physical and social skills, which ensure good teamwork. Students learn the rules and skills of the sports that they will participate in for their remaining years at Sanford so that they are ready when interscholastic competition begins in seventh grade.
  • 7th–12th Grade

    Visit our Athletics page to learn more about how Sanford incorporates physical activity into the curriculum in grades 7-12.

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