Saturday, February 12, 2011

We don't need no Physical Education?

This morning, I read an article about how the more physically active kids are, the better they will be at math. Well, it makes sense; there’s a lot of math and science involved in sports and play (such as physics in baseball).

Still, I could only grumble to myself over how physical education in my daughter’s school is grossly overlooked.

Last night at dinner, I was talking with Jennifer about P.E. at her school. Last year, we received occasional updates on what kind of progress is being made in P.E. This year, I don’t get any updates at all. So, I wanted to know what was up with P.E.

Jen told me that they only have P.E. once a week this year, and that all they do is play dodgeball. She went into a lecture about how much she loved P.E. last year, when they had P.E. three times a week and they did a whole host of activities: Jumping, climbing (especially climbing ropes), balancing exercises and running. Especially running!

This year, however, the amount of activity in her P.E. class has dropped considerably. Now I knew why the school sent home a note to parents about getting their kids into more physical activities. Apparently, the school can’t do it themselves! Sigh. Of course, they have recess, but recess only lasts anywhere from 10-15 minutes. That's just not enough time for kids to benefit from physical activity.

One thing Jennifer noticed about this change in P.E. is that it happened after they got a new gym coach. Her old P.E. coach was, well…old. Unfortunately. He retired last year. But, wow, to be around that man! He was bursting with energy! I was amazed at how energetic and passionate he was about exercise and physical education. He just really put himself into it. He actually cared, and he inspired so many people to get active. This year’s coach, who happens to be a younger overweight guy, didn’t strike me as very active when I met him at the start of the school year. He was quiet, stood around a lot and didn’t really seem interested in talking with anyone. Jennifer told me she misses her former P.E. coach. At least he had the kids doing more physical activity! And he really cared about how well they could do things, too. He encouraged them to keep trying and to get out there.

Once again, it’s up to the parents to take charge of their child’s level of physical activity. Apparently, investing ourselves in our child’s academic performance is not enough. We need to also make sure that they are excelling physically, because it seems like the schools just aren’t going to be able to do that anymore.

At least, my daughter’s school can’t.

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