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Innovative Educator: Caldwell teacher combines PE with the ABCs

Endy De La Cruz's kindergartners are learning their letters while playing tag or conquering obstacle courses.

CALDWELL, Idaho — Editor's note: This content is sponsored by CapEd Credit Union.

The gym at Sacajawea Elementary School in Caldwell is abuzz with activity and energy as the kindergarten kids conquer an obstacle course.

"The minute the students walk in and they see all the things I have out for the obstacle course they just start cheering and clapping and running up to me trying to give me hugs," PE teacher Endy De La Cruz said.

This course incorporates a different kind of obstacle to overcome, the alphabet.

"I'm not trying to catch them in 'oh, you don't know this letter,' but it's more so just repetition and exposure to those letters while moving," De La Cruz said.

De La Cruz came up with the concept that also comes into play in alphabet tag. The kids learn letters and letter combos and the sounds they make.

"Kids would get tagged and they would have to come over where I'm standing and tell me what the letter was," De La Cruz said. "We start off level one with the letter. Then we move to level two with the letter and sound, and then level three, letter, sound and then a word that starts with that letter."

Such as C is for cat or Ch is for chocolate.

"They love it! Constantly asking for alphabet tag all the time," De La Cruz said.

He says he wanted to do something to help close the learning gap caused by the COVID pandemic while getting the kids moving more.

"So taking on that whole child approach of trying to incorporate all the different subjects into PE," De La Cruz said.

He works with the kids' other teachers to make sure the letter lessons coincide. The feedback he gets from them has been all positive.

"Honestly, it's been really rewarding to know that that's working, but it also gets me really excited to want to keep going," De La Cruz said.

De La Cruz says next he's going to start working numbers into the lessons for the kindergartners.

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Educators, for information on submitting an application for a classroom grant through the Idaho CapEd Foundation, visit 

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