Sharing the Wall: Ways to Use the Climbing Wall Beyond Physical Education – Part 3
Schools can help their students, teachers, staff and community lead more active lives by using their climbing walls beyond physical education class. In other words, we think physical educators should share the wealth by sharing their wall.
In a three-part blog series, we are offering tips each week for sharing a Traverse Wall®. The ideas offered here can be part of your Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) and will help you join the growing Active Schools movement. (If you missed them, be sure to read our first blog post about sharing the wall with classroom teachers and our second blog post about sharing with teachers and staff.)
Our third suggestion is to share the climbing wall with families and the greater school community. Helping families spend time together in physically active ways will reap many benefits. And allowing use of the climbing wall to the greater community will maximize the usage of this great resource and increase the number of physically-active community members. Check out the following ways to include family and community in climbing:
Traverse Wall Open Climb
Host an Open Climb at your school. A great time to do this is one evening in the fall soon after school begins. You’ll review safety rules and have a variety of beginner activities for climbers to try. If you expect a large turnout, you may need to offer additional activities off the climbing wall. Check these easy-to-implement group games.
You can also make your climbing wall available for an Open Climb during one of your school’s game nights, Carnival or other seasonal event. You’ll just need to make sure a trained adult supervisor is always in attendance.
Consider having your climbing wall open during conferences. One of our customers shared with us that his school has very low turnout for parent teacher conferences, but his students love the climbing wall, so he has the wall open during conferences as a way to encourage attendance. Again, because of his low turnout, he’s able to supervise the climbing wall himself during this time. If you have high parent turnout for conferences, you’ll have to look into soliciting volunteers who have been trained on climbing wall safety to supervise climbers.
Offering a summer Climbing Club through your Community Education Program is a great way to bring members of the community to the climbing wall. This can be done at an elementary school, middle school or high school. Summer clubs at elementary schools typically run four days a week for one to three weeks. Clubs at the high school level take place on a top rope climbing wall and often run 2-3 days and end with a trip to a local climbing gym on the last day.
Climbing clubs during the school year are also popular and can take place before or after school. Read our past blog post about the incredible climbing club at Tahoma High School for more ideas.
Team Building with Sports Teams
Another way to involve the greater school community is by inviting sports teams or clubs to use the climbing wall for team building experiences. The Stillwater (MN) Area Public Schools Girls Track and Field Team took full advantage of their junior high school’s climbing wall for the start of the girls’ track season. During an overnight team building experience, the climbing wall was a highlight of the event, challenging students to work cooperatively to complete physical and mental problems. During one of the climbing challenges, the students attempted to climb as far as they could with partners, attached at the wrists with bungees. They traveled along the traverse wall, going over, under and through obstacles along the way. It was great fun and a memorable experience for the team. See photos!
Interested in learning more about Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs? Join PlayCore’s webinar on March 15-19, 2021. Use registration code: CLIMB