NewsPinellas County


Pre-K students balance new set of skills through innovative motor lab

Posted at 11:40 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 14:46:07-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There's a school in St. Pete that’s putting a new twist on an old subject. We’re talking about physical education. The teachers at Canterbury School of Florida are implementing a new kind of curriculum specifically designed for Pre-K.

From eye-hand coordination to balance to stability, it’s not just a classroom, it's a motor lab.


“It’s really based on working with children's early motor development and those are really the building blocks to higher-level learning,” said Canterbury Learning Center Specialist Melissa Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick and physical education teacher Christine Fitch teamed up to develop the whole new curriculum. Canterbury School of Florida is among the first in the state to use this approach.

“They know that when they come to the motor lab it’s work, it’s hard work, it’s another class,” said Fitzpatrick.

It’s like a new-age gym class for Pre-K, every week the activities and goals change.

“So that we know when they enter the skill-building, physical education classes in first grade, they have that confidence because the strength is built in,” said Fitch.

Something as simple as the Tummy Role exercise is the first lesson when it comes to learning how to use a pencil.


“Shoulder stability, elbow stability, wrist stability, that’s getting their hands ready for writing,” said Fitzpatrick.

Canterbury is proud to be at the forefront of this new type of education and said while classes may only last 30 minutes, the benefits last a lifetime.

They hope to be an inspiration to other schools across the state. Fitzpatrick will be presenting the idea to the Florida Council of Independent Schools this November during a conference in Jacksonville.