The Power of Meaningful and Joyful Experiences


Providing students with meaningful experiences during physical education it’s been a goal of mine this year. I have been learning, reading, and trying different ways to do that for the past few years, and one of the things that stuck out to me was to bring joyful experiences. I would like to thank the Meaningful PE team @meaningfulPE and the research led by Déirdre Ní Chróinín, @timfletcher12, @doug_gleddie, and @stephbeni for their book and ideas.

So what is joy? How can we be joyful? Is it the same for everyone?

There are several ways to bring joy with a smile, a compliment, being kind, helping and supporting others, etc. I wanted to provide joyful experiences for students. Feeling joyful can happen just by being in a relaxing environment, having lots of fun, or discovering something. It can also happen after being challenged, learning, and improving the skills related to that challenge and feeling confident, relaxed, and enjoying yourself doing something that might have seemed impossible before.

Life isn’t a race, find joy in the journey

Unknown Author

This year we decided to purchase twenty small bikes for our young learners. We already had a similar number of bigger bikes and wanted to start teaching kindergarten students how to ride a bike. At the beginning of the year, I only had three students in my class who could ride a bike. At that time, we were fostering students’ agency and curiosity exposing them to different choices and activities to explore. The bikes were just one of the choices. We had jump ropes, balls, and a slackline, for instance. We were on the field, so riding bikes was not always easy or enjoyable, especially for students who did not know how to. Watching students struggling and willing to learn, I decided to be more intentional and do a bike unit for Kindergarten. I would like to thank Jorge Rodriguez @PhysEdNow and Andy Vassily @andyvasily for taking the time to share materials with me and their ideas on a podcast that I recommend for anyone interested in starting something like that. 

We started cycling on a small road inside the school and bought helmets for students to wear while riding bikes. Soon I had almost everyone riding the bikes on their own and a few moving to the field after doing a few laps on the road to ride on the short hills we had in a shaded area. Seeing the smiles, happiness, and fun the kids were having while riding on those slopes, I had no other word in mind but JOY. 

Next week we are traveling with 60 G4 and G5 students to cycle around the Angkor Wat temples. This year will be my 5th year doing that, and as challenging as it can be for them to ride 20km in the forest and around the temples, when I hear them saying, “I want to live here!” all I can think about is that they are really enjoying themselves and having fun!

Another example of seeing the joy in the students is in the pool. They LOVE swimming, and this year we got kayaks and paddle boards that have brought new meaningful experiences into the lives of our students. Seeing their smiles and listening to them was pure joy for me too.

This microblog post was a featured post in  #slowchathealth’s #microblogweek. You can search for all of the featured posts here. Please do follow each of the outstanding contributors (including Leticia Cariño, the author of this post) on social media and consider writing a microblog post of your own to be shared with the global audience of

You can also check out Leticia’s own site here.

Pair this blog post with the following:

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? by Dr. Ash Casey

How to Facilitate Deeper Connections to Physical Activity by Jordan Manley

The Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonigal

5 thoughts on “The Power of Meaningful and Joyful Experiences

  1. Pingback: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? – #slowchathealth

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  5. Pingback: Acknowledging the Teacher – #slowchathealth

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