Schools get creative to encourage physical activity
- Kayaking, dance and inline skating are just a few of the activities that students in the Victor Central School District, near Rochester, NY, are experiencing during physical education classes, according to the New York Post.
- The goal of the less-traditional curriculum is to incorporate activities that students are more likely to enjoy and participate in outside of school, as well.
- The article also notes examples in Washington, DC, where all 2nd graders were taught how to ride bicycles, while students in higher grades do parkour.
SHAPE America, the Society of Health and Physical Educators, recommends that children get 60 minutes of physical activity every day, which can include organized physical education as well as recess, which only a handful of states require. But in its most recent "Shape of the Nation" report, the organization cites survey data showing that only 27% of students report being physically active at least 60 minutes per day on all seven days before the survey. The benefits of fitness activities include not only preventing obesity, but also improving cognitive skills and performance in the classroom, the report says.
According to SHAPE America, states’ PE laws and policies still vary widely. For example, only 19 states set minimum time requirements for PE in middle school, 15 for middle school and six for high school. The document also notes, as does the New York Post article, that the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) emphasis on a well-rounded education includes physical education as one way to meet that goal. “This shift in terminology allows included subjects the same access to federal education funding as core academic subjects previously were allowed but also signifies the importance of educating the whole child,” the report says.
- New York Post These schools are kicking boring gym classes to the curb
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