In today's age of technology, kids engage in less physical activity than they used to. Instead of playing outside or being involved in sports, many younger kids spend their time watching television or playing video games. As a result, there has been an increase in childhood obesity in the U.S. Since kids are at school for a large portion of the day, physical education provides a platform to increase physical activity and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Engaging in Physical Activity
The major focus of elementary school P.E. programs is to get kids moving. When kids are inactive, they are at greater risk for health issues including obesity, high blood glucose and high blood pressure later in life. A quality elementary physical education program will provide students with maximum physical activity in the time they are provided. Children shouldn't spend most of their P.E. period waiting for a turn. Engaging classes in multiple activities or setting up stations that kids rotate through will allow students to get the most out of their time in P.E. class.
Promoting an Active Lifestyle
While team sports are important for kids to learn about, they should not be the focus of physical education programs. Quality P.E. programs should help students become proficient in different forms of movement including dance, sports, fitness and recreational activities. Elementary physical education programs should introduce students to a variety of activities that they can continue to engage in throughout their lives. The more activities kids are exposed to, the more likely it is they will find one they enjoy doing.
Developing Positive Attitudes and Sportsmanship
Elementary P.E. should focus on helping kids develop positive attitudes about physical activity. If kids have in positive experiences during P.E. class, they are more likely to adopt physically active lifestyles. It's no secret that sometimes kids can be mean to each other, sometimes without even realizing. Elementary physical education programs should teach kids about good sportsmanship and respecting personal differences. Emphasis should also be placed on teaching kids how to be personally and socially responsible in physical activity settings.
Providing Meaningful Experiences
Elementary physical education programs should adapt curriculum and activities so kids on all levels can be included in a developmentally appropriate manner. One way to ensure the needs of all students are being met is to use different grouping strategies such as interest, cooperative learning and mixed-ability groups. Quality physical education programs should also provide experiences that promote mental alertness and academic performance. While students are engaged in physical activity, then can practice skills in other areas such as counting and rhyming.
- National Association for Sport and Physical Education: Quality Physical Education
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: The New Physical Education
- American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.: Using Differentiated Instruction in Physical Education
- Education World: New PE Trend Stresses Fitness and Fun
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