Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Community Health and Wellness Department has partnered with JP Manning Elementary School for more than 20 years. Recently, students from the second grade and their teachers were treated to a special lesson by physical therapists from the Rehabilitation Services Department as part of the on-going partnership.
Senior Physical Therapist Kristen Benya, PT, DPT, and physical therapy student Kaila Ryan (who also happens to be a former math teacher and an adaptive sports instructor) organized the day’s activities. “We began the session by teaching the students a little bit about the musculoskeletal system,” says Ryan. “The students completed an arts and crafts project to help them visualize how muscles contract to move bones. Afterward, the students split up into stations where they were introduced to some PT-specific topics, including agility, balance, coordination and strength.”
Benya says seeing the students engaged in their lesson was very rewarding. “Being a community-based hospital, what better way to give back than to help educate the youth of the surrounding neighborhoods?” she says.
She was also impressed by her co-worker’s natural ability to connect with the students. She says, “I was so impressed with how Kaila utilized her experience as a math teacher prior to beginning her post-graduate studies at MGH-IHP to engage the visiting class. She was awesome!”
For Ryan, connecting with the students was very special. “I loved the energy from the students!” she says. “Since they were engaged in each task, I was able to respond with much more passion. One of my favorite moments was when I was down on the floor performing bridges with a small group. I asked them which muscles they felt working. Every student felt a different part of his/her body working. In that moment, they realized just how many muscles it took to complete the exercise, and how many muscles they have in their body!”
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