With my daughter, Jordan, starting kindergarten in the fall, I was disappointed to find out she would only have physical education two times a week. So it made me wonder… Should kids of all ages and grades be forced to have physical education/gym class everyday? Is there enough time in the school day? These are a couple of many questions plaguing school districts across America. If adults are recommended to get at least 30 minutes of med-high impact exercise everyday, shouldn’t kids get the same? The idea is to teach kids healthy living early, and make it a way of their life. It’s no secret childhood obesity is on the rise, but should schools help with this epidemic?
Unfortunately, when school budgets need to be trimmed that’s when we lose the great “extra” classes and teachers. But gym, should not be considered an “extra.” There are so many lessons that can be taught within physical activity; team work, counting, sharing, compassion, physical health, coordination, balance, confidence… to name a few. It can also introduce kids to different sports & activities they might not otherwise be exposed too. Kids of all ages (even high school students) need gym class, and/or physical activity everyday. I know some schools say, “Well, the kids have recess”… They sure do in elementary, and if the weather’s nice, if it’s raining, inside time it is. Some districts have said it’s not in the budget to have a full time physical education teacher… there is room, because so many personal trainers would love to volunteer their time to teach gym. Now, I know the days are jammed packed for teachers already, let alone to then lose 30+ min of classroom time… Well, that’s when phys. ed teachers can partner with the “primary” teacher to help teach or reinforce a lesson while in gym, i.e. geography, math, etc… Schools have to help teach kids, not only the important subjects, but also ways to live a healthy, physically active life.
But here’s the bigger question… is it the school’s responsibility, or the parents’ to enforce an active lifestyle? My answer: BOTH!! Kids spend most of their time (awake) in school, so schools should help to keep kids active! However, they should continue to be equally as active at home. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, play outside… simple games like tag, kickball, basketball, running races, etc are great ways to get the whole family’s hearts pumping. If outside is not an option, new video games for the Wii or Xbox connect get everyone up and moving through sports or dancing. I also sign my daughters up for swimming lessons, and we take family Zumba at our local ymca. We also enjoy going on family walks after dinner, around the neighborhood or on the trail. I understand that some parents work, and work a lot, or are just not that interested in being healthy for them or their kids, but that’s when the schools need to still make physical education a priority (like they way they do with school lunch). Overall, every kid needs gym class and physical activity everyday… just like adults! So it’s time for schools to get moving!