With heightened attention on childhood obesity prevention efforts, the best solution is providing children with high quality physical education programs that focus on importance of being physically active, healthy behaviors and good nutrition. Every child deserves to participate in a quality physical education program.
Our schools physical education programs offers the best opportunity to provide physical activity to all children and to teach them the skills and knowledge needed to establish and sustain an active, healthy lifestyle. Physical education teachers assess student knowledge, motor and social skills, and provide instruction in a safe, supportive environment. Based on sequence of learning, physical education should not be compared to or confused with other physical activity experiences such as recess, intramurals, or recreational endeavors.
A quality physical education program provides learning opportunities, appropriate instruction, meaningful and challenging content for all children, and should include:
Opportunity to Learn:
- Instructional periods totaling 150 minutes per week (elementary) and 225 minutes per week (middle and high school)
- Qualified physical education teachers providing a developmentally appropriate program
- Teacher/student ratio in physical education no greater than 1:25 (elementary) and (1:30 middle/high) for optimal instruction (similar to other classroom settings)
- Adequate equipment and facilities for all students to be active at the same time
- Full inclusion of all students
- Maximum participation and ample practice opportunities for class activities
- Well-designed lessons that facilitate student learning
- Out of school assignments that support learning and practice of learned skills
- Appropriate discipline and class management (physical activity should never be used as punishment)
- Use of regular assessment to monitor and reinforce student learning
- Instruction in a variety of motor skills
- Fitness education and assessment to help children understand, improve and/or maintain their physical well-being
- Development of cognitive concepts about motor skills, fitness, personal and social responsibility and proper nutrition
- Opportunities to improve emerging social and cooperative skills through physical activity and gain a multi-cultural perspective
- Promotion of recommended amounts of physical activity now and throughout life
What is Physical activity?
Physical activity is bodily movement of any type and may include recreational, fitness and sport activities such as jumping rope, playing soccer, lifting weights, as well as daily activities such as walking to the school, taking the stairs or gardening. Similar health benefits to those received during a physical education class are possible during physical activity when the participant is active at an intensity that increases heart rate and produces heavier than normal breathing. School-age children should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.
Opportunities to accumulate physical activity during the school day include time spent in physical education class, classroom-based movement, recess, walking or biking to school, and recreational sport and play that occurs before, during, and after school. Parents and grandparents are urged to get active with their children. The benefits of regular physical activity include:
- Reducing the risk for becoming overweight, developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases
- Assists in improved academic performance
- Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
- Reduces the risk for depression and the effects of stress
- Helps children prepare to be productive, healthy members of society
- Improves overall quality of life.
Physical education class is the cornerstone of an active lifestyle for all students. In physical education class students learn the skills necessary for participation in a variety of developmentally appropriate physical activities. Quality physical education programs increase physical competence, self-esteem, and show students the enjoyment of physical activity no matter what their physical abilities may be. Every child should embrace physical activity as a part of their daily routine.
Be Active, Stay Healthy!