We know that students do better in school when they are emotionally and physically healthy. They miss fewer classes, are less likely to engage in risky or antisocial behavior, concentrate more, and achieve higher test scores. Research shows physical education programs not only improve physical fitness, but they can also benefit students by improving skill development, reinforcing self-discipline, supporting academic achievement, reducing stress, strengthening peer relationships, improving self-confidence and self-esteem, and teaching goal setting.
Think back for a moment to when you were a young child. What games did you play? What things did you play at school? Do you remember your parents telling you to "go play?" I remember riding my bicycle, roller skating, getting together with the neighbor kids to play hide-and-seek, and Barbie's of course were my favorite! Today if a parent were to say "go play," would children know how or what to play? Are we allowing children enough play time to develop appropriately? Is play really play anymore? This article discusses how physical, imaginative, and free-choice play is almost non-existent and how teachers can ensure play in their environments and in the child's home.
In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each community, is healthy, engaged, supported, and challenged and is college-, career-, and citizenship-ready. These are the top 10 posts you read in 2011.
In fact, the reason given why many of these schools are adding "enrichment classes" into recess time is because they have been pushed out of the daily schedule by academic cuts. And this is even though there have been countless studies showing and editorials discussing the benefits of play, whether it be for physical health, social and emotional health, all of the above, and even academic development.
Post submitted by Monica A.F. Lounsbery, PhD, and Thomas L. McKenzie, PhD. Lounsbery is a professor and director of the Physical Activity Policy Research Program, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas. McKenzie is a former school physical education and health teacher, coach, and administrator. He is emeritus professor of exercise and nutritional sciences at San Diego State University and has authored or co-authored over 200 papers and developed numerous assessment and curricular materials.
Physical education (PE) is one of the few settings where children, particularly those from socioeconomically disadvantaged families, can accrue substantial amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and learn important generalizable movement and behavioral skills to help them lead a physically active lifestyle.
Since the No Child Left Behind Act has been in place, most school policymakers recognize that there have been dramatic decreases in the amount of PE time students are provided per week. However, many school principals probably don't disclose that the remaining PE time is often compromised.
Ensuring a high-quality physical education program is important. Equally important is ensuring that students are active across the school day and not just in gym class. Research shows that kids who are physically active are not only healthier, but also likely to perform better academically; and short activity breaks during the school day can improve concentration and behavior and enhance learning.
In short, school-based physical activity is valuable exercise. It aids cognitive development; increases engagement and motivation; and is essential to keeping kids healthy and engaged, as well as safe, supported, and challenged. In November we looked at new ways to encourage movement and how schools are bringing physical activity out of the gym and into the classroom.
Post submitted by Monica A.F. Lounsbery, PhD, professor and director of the Physical Activity Policy Research Program, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas.
Schools, through recess, physical education, and other programs, provide opportunities for children to accrue their recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Of these settings, physical education is perhaps the most important because it is a required part of the education curriculum and provides the only opportunity some children have to engage in vigorous activity and learn movement skills that will last a lifetime. Participating in physical activity during recess is voluntary, but nonetheless many children are active during it, especially when it is held outdoors.