In his first address to students, Head of School Matt Levinson P '21 shares his perspective on what it means to "hit the brakes."
Athletics and Activity Block
During the Athletics and Activity Block of our weekly schedule, Pingry Middle School students can select from a wide range of interscholastic sports and team and physical activities, guided by the requirements outlined below.
- A Play in the Attic!
- Interscholastic Sports
- Intro to Squash
- Middle School Musical
- Outdoor Education
- P.E. Fit/Sports Academy/Ultimate Frisbee
- Theater Tech
At Play in the Attic! is a fall theatre course that makes use of Pingry's acting studio space, the Attic Theatre. Students will choose a piece of theater, audition for parts, and collaborate in staging the production. They will select costumes, props, as well as devise a set, all from the Attic Theater’s own collections. The final show will be performed under lights, at the end of the trimester, for an audience. Rehearsals will incorporate acting warm-ups, creative blocking and staging exercises, and basic character work that will help young actors gain movement skills, self-confidence, as well as have fun putting on a play.
The Pingry outdoor adventure team will explore the wild areas of the Pingry campus and beyond. Guided by experienced wilderness “coaches,” participants will learn valuable backcountry skills, including map-and-compass, route-finding, fire-building, backcountry cooking, basic plant and animal identification, risk identification and management (safety in the backcountry), team care (pace-setting, group dynamics, etc.), trip-planning, and Leave No Trace principles. On most days, Pingry’s Outdoor Leadership team will “practice” during the normal middle-school athletics period on the beautiful “back forty” of the Basking Ridge campus, which includes nearly one-hundred acres of woods, streams, and pastures. Approximately once a week, participants will travel to nearby parks such as Chimney Rock, the Great Swamp, and Hacklebarney to apply the skills learned on campus to different environments. These will be the equivalent of “game days” for other sports teams.
In addition, students will be required to participate in their choice of at least one of three major trips to assess their growth as wilderness adventurers:
- A campout at the Pingry campsite. This experience will assess Leave No Trace, fire-building, cooking, and skills associated with basic camping equipment setup and use.
- A weekend day hike in mountainous terrain. This hike in Norvin Green or Harriman state parks will assess map-reading, route-finding, and group management skills in physically challenging terrain.
- A two-day backpacking trip. This end-of-course backpacking experience in Harriman State Park will test participants’ abilities to plan and lead their own wilderness trip. Students will be required to demonstrate the ability to plan a route, create a nutritious menu suitable for the backcountry, identify and manage risks, and lead fellow students on challenging mountain terrain.
P.E. Fit/Sport Academy allows students to both vary their daily activity and become more deliberate about fitness. Each day, students will engage in a different game or activity, including but not limited to basketball, dodgeball and its many variations, hiking, four square, water polo, soccer, football, wall ball, spud, and team handball, with a particular focus—in the fall and spring—on ultimate frisbee. One day per week, students spend time in the Greig Strength and Conditioning Center with Pingry's strength and conditioning coaches to focus on these elements of fitness.
Ultimate Frisbee is a highly active team sport incorporating the skills associated with throwing and catching a frisbee. Team play and strategies are also developed in this activity as teams are formed within an intramural league and games are played daily.
In this course, students will work as a team to design, build, and program their own robot. The parameters for the robot will be provided and students will compete against other teams. Students will work on problem-solving skills to debug the code for the robot. This course will emphasize collaboration and teamwork to reach a common goal.
Every year in the spring trimester the Middle School puts on a musical and students are responsible for all aspects of the production, including tech. This is an opportunity to learn all about and be responsible for the lighting, set design and construction, sound, etc. All students are welcome to participate and be part of this exciting behind-the-scenes team.
This course is designed to empower young teens with practices they can use to create healthy bodies and minds. Today we live in a very fast paced and digital world, with implicit and explicit expectations of achievement. This can create stress which affects the ability of young people to learn, grow, and thrive. We will develop skills to handle stress, maintain emotional balance, and develop empathy for self and others. Physical poses and flowing movements which connect the poses will strengthen, stabilize, and open up the body, creating a sense of vitality and well-being. Breathing exercises, games, visualizations will open up the senses and allow for a feeling of being present, one breath at a time, in a safe space. Yoga, along with relaxation and meditation, has been scientifically proven to increase brain health. Everyday, we will explore ways to relax, nourishing our own lives and enriching the lives of others in the process.