Our communities, schools, students, and teachers are facing unprecedented challenges including social distancing, sanitization protocols, shifting instructional formats (i.e., hybrid models, virtual programming) and fiscal responsibilities. As the COVID crisis continues, Heart Zones remains dedicated to stressing the importance of physical education. Two clear results of the current constraints in education are the spike in childhood obesity and the mental health challenges among students. As dedicated professionals, it is critical that we offer solutions to these challenges through quality physical education programs. We must collectively answer the basic question—why is physical education important?
The importance of physical education really can’t be overstated. Effective programs provide developmentally appropriate instruction that support motor and fitness skills, knowledge, and personal social attributes necessary to pursue healthy, active lifestyles. Quality physical education, led by certified educators, promotes personal responsibility, goal setting, self-confidence, balanced nutrition, and stress relief which are all key building blocks to a child’s happiness and health in the long term.
If we haven’t already answered the question as to why is physical education important, let us remind you of the Whole Child Approach. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Approach (WSCC) offered by the Center for Disease Control and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, underscores the importance of the provision of health and physical education, purposeful physical activity, and social and emotional wellness in the daily lives of children. Furthermore, this type of education places responsibility on communities, schools, policymakers, and educators to collaboratively ensure each child is healthy, safe, engaged, and supported. Within this approach, schools and communities must reflect on their culture, curriculum, strategies, and engagement in order to motivate children in all aspects of their lives—whether they’re at home learning virtually with family or in the classroom with their peers, it’s a key testament to the importance of physical education.
Simply stated, scaling back or eliminating physical education in the face of the current challenges faced by schools is a short-term financial solution that produces long-term health risk for students across the United States. A more prudent response is to utilize the WSCC as it raises the accountability bar and spreads responsibility for a child’s health across multiple levels—including schools. For physical educators who understand the importance of physical education, the challenges to provide effective instruction and determine the impact the program among children has become paramount. Understanding the FITT Principle and the role of Moderate to Vigorous Activity (MVPA), as well as the capacity to apply these concepts within face-to-face, hybrid, and virtual programs holds great promise in this effort.
Because Heart Zones understands the importance of physical education even in a new virtual world, we have worked tirelessly to develop Heart Zones e-PE. This virtual tool can be used to supplement in-person classes or as the base of a virtual program. When schools ask “why is physical education important,” we can show them meaningful data and provide program accountability. Heart Zones ePE allows teachers to capture student activity results from anywhere using cloud-based technology. Then, they can send emails and performance reports to key stakeholders like superintendents, administrators, parents, and guardians. So, the next time you need to defend the importance of physical education, you’ll be able to show them instead of telling them.
Interested in learning more about the importance of physical education in schools? Read our blog article about a study that used Heart Zones technology to collect fitness data in a classroom. Or, if your school has been impacted by COVID-19, explore our resources to see how we can support you during this critical time. Lastly, we encourage you to request a demo of Heart Zones e-PE solution if you’d like to provide more program accountability and engage your students in meaningful ways while learning at home.