How Important Is Physical Education In Schools?
Offering the opportunity for adequate physical activity within the school day is a topic I’m very passionate about. I was fortunate enough during my first year of teaching to attend several Brain Gym classes and learn about how vital it is for students to have movement throughout the day. Brain Gym is a used in over 80 countries around the world, promoting the science of enhancing learning through movement. Of course, I knew kids needed exercise, that just made sense. However, what I quickly became fascinate with was the impact that physical activity had on student learning outcomes. The more I became interested, the more I began to learn about the direct correlation between the brain and movement.
I’ve written on this topic multiple times over the past few years. One of my most popular posts was on the popular Top Teaching Blog via Scholastic. I discussed the importance on offering brain breaks within the classroom to allow students to have additional opportunities for movement throughout the day. Within that post, I even share some research regarding brain breaks in the learning environment. It’s a great post packed with information and creative ideas teachers love, so be sure to check that one out.
*Check out more about the Every Student Succeeds Act*
If we know that active students do better in school, then why aren’t schools offering more opportunities for children to be active throughout the day? Sadly, many physical education programs across the country are being cut for a variety of reasons. That is why I urge you to take a moment and read these alarming points.
Did You Know:
- Research shows kids need 60 minutes of physical activity per day and PE programs cam help get them there.
- PE addresses the needs of the whole child, positively impacting their physical, mental, and emotional health.
- Only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year.
- 95% of parents with children under the age of 18 think PE should be part of the school curriculum for all students K-12.
- Racial inequalities and socio-economic challenges leave many schools without resources for PE, but kids shouldn’t have to miss out on the benefits of PE because of where they live.
About ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act):
- Under ESSA (the federal education law), all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education.
- We’re advocating for physical education to be included in every state’s ESSA plans. With the passage of the federal education bill at the end of 2015, 2017 presents an important opportunity to help drive awareness of the need for local and state action on PE, as State Departments of Education prepare their plans.
- Unlike previous federal education law, ESSA includes physical education (PE) as part of a “well-rounded curriculum” — this means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding!
- But here’s the thing: inclusion of health and PE in ESSA is not a mandate. We need to advocate for daily PE to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE. If PE is not included in the plan, it won’t have access to funding!
What Can You Do To Help?
This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.