Physical Education in Elementary

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Contributions of Physical Activity in the Elementary School Setting


Physical education in the elementary school system is an essential curriculum for the development of all children. Early physical education classes provide children with a process for progression from the random play stage to the organized game and eventually structured learning. Throughout this process, children learn the value of group dynamics.

Values such as sharing, team play, communication and respect for others become common practice. Apart from group development, physical education at an early age can also dramatically help children succeed in the classroom environment. All children learn at different rates. Learning new ideas and developing them require time and much practice before reaching some success. Most children at some point during this period will struggle. Physical education at this age can provide children with the opportunity to succeed and be a sort of mental recess.

Games and play can be developed so that children can associate learning with activity. Since kids enjoy games and play and can easily succeed in this medium, physical activity is therefore a confidence booster that will last forever in every child. Success in play can be carried over into the classroom and in future life endeavors.

It seems today that time spent on computers and televisions has overtaken physical activity. If children are taught physical games and how to play sports at a younger age it will hopefully carry over to an out of school setting. Out of school physical activity increases exercise time which will in turn lead to a healthier child.


Physical education for children is also very important in the development of a healthy body. In a report by the Surgeon General in 2001, it says that “Schools are identified as a key setting for public health strategies to prevent and decrease the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Most children spend a large portion of time in school. Schools provide many opportunities to engage children in healthy eating and physical activity and to reinforce healthy diet and physical activity messages.” It’s been reported by the Grocery Manufacturers of America that physical activity and good nutrition can prevent high blood pressure, increase muscle strength, and reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent diabetes and osteoporosis. During this early period in their lives, children can develop poor eating habits that make physical play difficult to participate in, eventually steering children away from joining in physical activity.
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