Veteran elementary physical education teachers, Chris Tamborra and Mark Farnsworth, met at a seminar where they were both searching for a solution to “fix recess.”1 A year later, in 2003, Chris (teaching in Massachusetts) and Mark (teaching in Connecticut) collaborated to form the educational consulting firm 4 Great Physical Education.2
Based on the belief that all children can be successful in dynamic learning environments, that physical education promotes social and emotional development, and that physical education should promote the intrinsic value of movement and healthy lifestyles, 4 Great Physical Education supports the leadership of the school physical education professional in facilitating these goals. They also seek to reduce childhood obesity by structuring a physical domain to encourage full participation by all children.3
Together, Chris and Mark developed a socially and emotionally oriented physical education curriculum which allowed children to feel safe enough to play creatively and spontaneously, to take risks in their physical learning processes, and to acquire the skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play. They also developed programs on establishing learning environments, structuring a successful recess, and implementing how to begin and end each school year.4
In 2005 and in 2006, they presented their programs at the annual conventions of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). Later in 2006, they presented at the Virginia Association of Independent Schools conference, and they were the featured speakers at the Michigan Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference.5
Besides private consultations, 4 Great Physical Education developed the Responsive Classroom Physical Education Institute. They have also developed a graduate level course offered through the French River Education Center and the Center for Effective Instruction at Worcester State University.6 The course is sponsored by the New England Dairy Council and their Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
4 Great Physical Education's recess program was recognized as one of the 2011 Character Education Partnership (CEP) 260 Promising Practices.7 The CEP honors schools and school districts that develop “specific, unique, and effective educational practices that promote character development.”8 4 Great Physical Education is also a recess advocate for the International Play Association.9
Individually, Mark has been honored as a Connecticut District Teacher of the Year and Chris is a registered leader for the Prevent Obesity organization.10
- 1. Tamborra Chris. “4 Great Physical Education.” Received by Playground Professionals on 27 July 2011.
- 2. Tamborra, Chris. “4 Great Physical Education Time Line.” Received by Playground Professionals on 26 July 2011.
- 3. Op.cit., Tamborra “4 Great Physical Education.”
- 4. “About Us.” 4 Great Physical Education. < http://www.4greatpe.com/About_Us.html > 7 July 2011.
- 5. Op.cit., “4 Great Physical Education Time Line.”
- 6. Op.cit., Tamborra. “4 Great Physical Education.” and “4 Great Physical Education Time Line.”
- 7. “Promising Practices Announced for 2011.” The Character Education Partnership. Press release of 6 June 2011. Received by Playground Professionals on 26 July 2011.
- 8. Ibid.
- 9. Op.cit., Tamborra “4 Great Physical Education.”
- 10. Op.cit., Tamborra “4 Great Physical Education.”