Browse any fitness blog or education twitter feed and you’re sure to find discussions about the implications of childhood obesity and the changing face of education. Health and education are in the news all across the nation as schools grapple with budget cuts, the implementation of Common Core standards, and the quintessential question: how can we best educate the 21st century child?
Just this week, legislators in the state of Florida introduced a bill that would allow students to substitute a computer science class for the physical education requirement. As important as it is for the millennial generation to have a healthy dose of computer science, it should not be at the expense of students learning the lifelong skills of health, nutrition, and fitness.
P.E. has long been seen as the joke of high school requirements. We recall days of walking around the track, faking push-ups, and looking forward to that easy “A.” Fortunately for our students, none of that is true.
As a small private school in sunny Florida, we are lucky to have the school’s support and the weather on our side for creating a beneficial P.E. experience for all of our students– from our 3 year olds to the 12th graders. Not only are students completing the President’s Challenge, they are also completing projects that bridge core subjects with physical education.
During this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Mrs. DeStefano’s 9th Grade P.E. class completed research projects on Olympic sports. Each student was assigned a sport to study, track, and follow as it took place during the Winter Games. Students researched the history of their sport and then watched and tracked their sport throughout the games using different media outlets, presenting their findings in an “Olympic Fair” after the closing ceremonies. Through this project, students explored the lifelong commitment and dedication that athletes make to compete at the Olympic level, discovering that truly living a healthy, active life is a choice that we make and re-commit to daily.
For younger students, physical education teaches gross motor skills– skills like running, jumping, balance, and skipping– which are imperative for cognitive as well as physical development. The best way to teach the youngest of students these skills? Obstacle courses, of course! Our Early Childhood students love the challenge of obstacle courses while also learning and practicing their gross motor skills.
Giving children the skills and knowledge to make healthy choices has far-reaching benefits. By structuring physical education curriculum to teach these skills (and to support and strengthen the skills taught in core classes), we hope that Grandview students will appreciate P.E. class and be inspired to lead healthy lifestyles.
It’s National Nutrition Month— what are YOU doing to inspire healthy living?