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A Curriculum of Wellness

Reconceptualizing Physical Education


Michelle Kilborn

A Curriculum of Wellness seeks to encourage a deeper discussion about teaching our children how to be healthy and live well. It makes a significant contribution to the field of education as it features influential curriculum concepts nuanced with action research principles in a unified, intimate, and deeply relational inquiry into physical education teacher practice. This work presents a very practical yet complex and wisdom-guided way to transform teaching practices that follow more holistic understandings of wellness. A new mode of curriculum inquiry, wisdom-guided inquiry, is presented, providing an opportunity to open up a fresh avenue to understand curriculum and become engaged in discussions that concern teaching, learning, and public education. An outstanding feature of this book is its transdisciplinarity. While the story is situated within physical education discipline, this book has implications for all teachers and teacher educators because it provides insights that encourage us to consider more carefully the subjective insights of teachers and to understand these as central to being and becoming a teacher. A Curriculum of Wellness is essential reading for curriculum and pedagogy scholars, teacher educators, teachers, and other health-related professionals to think differently about curriculum and pedagogy – making it a great option for many related graduate and undergraduate courses.
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Chapter 7: A Curriculum of Wellness: (Re)turning to the Tree(s)


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I walk amongst the trees peering up into the sky, looking for the compositions that excite my senses. I am filled with expectation, joy, even laughter. There is such magic in the air.

— RITA IRWIN, 2006, P. 75

Somewhere along the way, the subjective attention and mindfulness I practiced in my childhood was moved to the background. I have already told the story of my connection to a wonderful tree in our family orchard in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, and my disconnection that subsequently contributed to my own ill health in my adulthood. So, essentially my journey to wisdom and a curriculum of wellness begins and continues with trees.

Let me be clear: trees are not just a root metaphor for my inquiry journey. They are not just representations or models I wish to highlight to summarize a theoretical underpinning to my work. The trees are living, breathing sentient beings that had I not (re)connected with and continue to connect with, I certainly would not be in my present location. The trees are a meditative sensibility, and if I am not with, in, and around the trees, I am not present; I do not feel whole. When I am with the trees I can (re)cover a sense of my experiences growing up on a farm, I can feel the natural rhythms of...

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