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A high-quality physical education program is indisputably important, and so is ensuring that students are active across the school day and not just in gym class for 45 minutes—or worse, 20 minutes every other day. Research shows that kids who are physically active are not only healthier, but are also likely to perform better academically, and short activity breaks during the school day can improve concentration, 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 a whole child approach to education.
In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we discuss new ways to encourage movement and how schools are bringing physical activity out of the gym and into the classroom to maximize learning and well-being. You'll hear from
- Jill Vialet, CEO and founder of whole child partner Playworks, the only nonprofit organization in the country to send trained, full-time program coordinators to low-income, urban schools, where they transform recess and play into positive experiences that help kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity throughout the school day.
- Michael Opitz, a former elementary school teacher and reading specialist and current professor of reading at the University of Northern Colorado, is the author of Literacy Lessons to Help Kids Get Fit & Healthy, in which he shares secrets for combining literacy-rich, ready-to-use lessons with easy-to-implement fitness exercises.
- Andria Caruthers, is principal at West Education Campus in Washington, D.C., where she works toward student success through motivating her students to focus on academics and the well-being of the total body.
How do you design your classroom lessons to include movement and physical activity? What effects has this had on student engagement and overall school climate?