This post is sponsored by Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association
and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, but I mean every word of it anyway.
When I ask my eldest what his favorite subject in school is, he (without hesitation!) will say PE. Every time. Every year. It’s a fun break from his desk, and he gets to MOVE! My son, and many other kids like him, stop being able to concentrate if they’re sitting at a desk for too long. Movement is critical for his learning, and occasional movement breaks in classroom are not enough to keep his mind on track. He needs his P.E.! Unfortunately, new mandates (Every Student Succeeds Act) don’t require that states include PE in the program, and this is NOT ok. For the first time, PE could get significant federal funding. This is so huge. PE teachers need money too. At my son’s school, the PTA had to buy the gym new climbing ropes, because the school didn’t have the money. That shouldn’t be the case! We, as parents and educators, have to make our voices heard that we want it included. We need to protect PE!
Not only does PE allow kids to work towards the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day, it also addresses the needs of the whole child, positively impacting their mental emotional health. PE allows for social interactions that children won’t get elsewhere. It forces them to learn the social nuances/back and forth of game play, how to be a good winner AND loser, as well as reinforcing the need to follow rules… it’s so important!
For some of the special education students in school, “specials” like PE (and health, and music, etc.) are the only time they have direct access to their regular education peers. This is a crucial time for them to interact with new children and learn from them. It makes such a difference for them too.
For others, who may be struggling academically, PE may be the only part of the day where they get to shine. Taking this away could potentially take away the only reason they like coming to school. We need to see our kids in school. They can’t succeed otherwise.
Voices for Healthy Kids aims to foster a national conversation about the need to ensure quality physical education as a part of every child’s education. If you want to join the conversation, there’s a few EASY things you can do:
- Share this PSA on facebook: https://youtu.be/VS7n9lNG3oY
- Retweet one of their tweets: @Voices4HK / #ProtectPE
- Join the Protect PE Action Team
- See how YOU can increase PE in YOUR community
But if you walk away from this blog post with nothing else, please know that PE is not something our nation’s children can afford to lose. Especially with screen times increasing, we can no longer assume that children will be getting the physical activity that they need while they’re home. There is a direct connection between movement and increased academic skills, and we have to give our kids every advantage we can. PE is one of those advantages. Protect PE!