Physical Education & Physical Activity

Why are Physical Education and Physical Activity Important?

Physical education aligned with state or national standards can positively impact students' weight and health.1,2 Recess raises the intensity of physical activity time each day3 and improves behavior among students.4,5 In the classroom, active lessons are linked with increased daily focus and movement.6 Active events at schools that involve families can also increase physical activity in youth.7 A family fitness night is a great example of a school-based event, which can include fun activities and stations throughout the school.


best practices

+ There is a written physical education curriculum for grades K-12

It is clear that there is a physical education curriculum for each grade.

  • "Provide a comprehensive physical education curriculum that is available to all K-12 students and that teaches the importance of physical exercise and exposes students to a wide range of physical activities." -Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan

+ The written physical education curriculum is aligned with national and/or state physical education standards

It is clear that it is required for the physical education curriculum to be aligned with state or national standards.

  • "All students in grades K-12 will participate in physical education as prescribed by the WI statute." -Antigo

+ Addresses time per week of physical education instruction for all elementary school students

The required amount of time is clearly stated in the passage.

  • "All students in grades kindergarten through fifth will receive physical education 3 days each week for the entire school year." -Albany

Wisconsin School District Standards for Physical Education specify that students in grades K-6 should receive physical education a minimum of three times per week.

SHAPE America recommends that schools provide 150 minutes of instructional physical education for elementary school children per week for the entire school year.


+ Addresses time per week of physical education instruction for all middle school students

The required amount of time is clearly stated in the passage.

  • "All students in grades sixth through eighth will receive physical education 2 ½ days each week for the entire school year." -Albany

Wisconsin School District Standards for Physical Education specify that students in grade 6 receive physical education at least three times per week.

SHAPE America recommends that schools provide 225 minutes of instructional physical education for middle school children per week for the entire school year.


+ Addresses time per week of physical education instruction for all high school students

The required amount of time is clearly stated in the passage.

  • "All students in grades ninth through twelfth grades will enroll in at least 3 semesters of physical education throughout the four school years." -Albany Wisconsin School District Standards for Physical Education specify that students in grades 9-12 should receive at least 1.5 credits of physical education, incorporating effects of exercise, health-related fitness, and lifetime activities. Students in senior high school should have access to PE each year.

    SHAPE America recommends that schools provide 225 minutes of instructional physical education for middle school children per week for the entire school year.


+ Addresses teacher-student ratio for physical education classes

It is clear that the student-teacher ratio in physical education classes is similar to classes in other subjects.

  • "Ensure that physical education classes have a teacher/student ratio comparable with those of other classes." -Cambridge

+ Addresses qualifications for physical education teachers for grades K-12

It is clear that the qualifications are required for physical education teachers. (Teacher must be licensed/endorsed/certified in physical education)

  • "State licensed physical education teachers teach physical education at all levels." -Argyle

+ District provides physical education training for physical education teachers

It is clear that annual, professional development is required for physical education teachers.

  • "All physical education teachers will be required to participate in at least once a year professional development education." -Hales Corner Lutheran School

+ Addresses physical education waiver requirements for K-12 (e.g. substituting physical education requirement with other activities)

It is clear that all students are required to take physical education. The school district does not waiver state physical education requirements for K-12 students.

  • "Waivers, exemptions, or substitutions for physical activity classes are not granted." -Seneca

+ Addresses physical education exemptions for K-12 students

It is clear that the district does not allow students to be exempted from physical education.

  • "Waivers, exemptions, or substitutions for physical activity classes are not granted." -Seneca

+ Addresses physical education substitution requirements for K-12 students (e.g. substituting physical education requirement with other activities)

It is clear that school district does not allow students to substitute other school activities for physical education class.

  • "Student involvement in other activities involving physical activity (e.g., interscholastic or intramural sports) will not be substituted for meeting the physical educational requirement." -Antigo

+ District addresses the development of a comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP) plan at each shool

The policy clearly states that the schools are required to implement a CSPAP.

  • "A comprehensive physical activity program will encompass a variety of opportunities for all students to be physically active including: physical education, recess, after school activity programs, and health education that includes an emphasis on the benefits of physical activity as a main component." -Waukesha

  • "The Indian Community School District Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program model is a multi-component approach to utilize all opportunities for ICS students to be physically active, meet the nationally recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime." -Indian Community School District of Milwaukee


+ District addresses active transport for all K-12 students

It is clear that it is required for the schools to develop an active transport program.

  • "The school will assess and, if necessary and to the extent possible, make needed improvements to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to school. When appropriate, the school will work together with local public works, public safety, and/or police departments in those efforts. The school will explore the availability of federal "safe routes to school" funds, administrated by the state department of transportation, to finance such improvements." -Milwaukee Collegiate Academy

+ District addresses before and after school physical activity for all K-12 students

It is clear that it is required for the district to provide before and/or after school physical activity for all students.

  • "In addition to planned physical education, the school shall provide age-appropriate physical activities (intramurals and clubs before and after school) that meet the needs of all students, including males, females, students with disabilities, and students with special health care needs." -Manitowoc

+ District addresses recess for elementary school students

The sentence clearly states that all elementary students will be provided with 20 minutes of recess each day.

  • "All elementary school students will have at least 20 minutes each day of supervised recess." -Antigo

+ Addresses physical activity breaks for all K-12 students

It is clear that it is required for teachers to provide all students with short activity breaks.

  • "Classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate." -Milwaukee Collegiate Academy

+ Addresses staff involvement in physical activity opportunities at all schools

It is clear that staff involvement in physical activity opportunities at school is required.

  • "Recess monitors or teachers will encourage students to be active, and will serve as role models by being physically active alongside the students whenever feasible." -Suring

+ Addresses family and community engagement in physical activity opportunities at all schools

It is clear that it is required for district to create family and community engagement physical activity opportunities.

  • "Students and families will be provided opportunities to participate in physical activity (i.e. family fun nights/days, walk, runs, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, health fairs, various school-community opportunities)." -Rib Lake

+ District provides physical activity training for all teachers

It is clear that it is required for the district to provide teachers with professional development opportunities regarding integration of physical activity content into class time and/or curriculum.

  • "The district will support classroom teachers incorporating physical activity and employing kinesthetic learning approaches into core subjects by providing professional development opportunities and resources, including information on leading activities, activity options, as well as making available background materials on the connections between learning and movement." -Monroe

+ Joint or shared use agreements for physical activity participation at all schools

It is clear that it is required for schools to develop joint-use agreements for community use of school facilities.

  • "Schools will provide access to school facilities by students, families or community groups, in accordance with District Facility Use Policy." -Antigo


Resources

Mobilize for Health

Access to Places for Physical Activity
Resources for increasing community access to school recreational spaces, including joint or shared use agreements.

Active Time in Schools and Early Care
Wisconsin success stories and other resources for increasing students' physical activity.

Physical Activity Policies
Tools and resources for crafting policies that increase physical activity in schools.

Safe Routes to School
Resources for establishing Safe Routes to School programs.

healthTIDE

Schools Team
Connect with a team of partners throughout Wisconsin working to make schools healthier.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                                             

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program
Overview of a CSPAP and a step by step guide for development, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive school physical activity program.

Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool
Self assessment and planning guide for districts to use in order to evaluate and analyze physical education curriculums based on national standards.

Supporting Quality Physical Education and Physical Activity in Schools
Policy brief highlighting established initiatives related to physical education and physical activity in schools. It provides a summary of expert recommendations and resources for further information on this core wellness policy topic.

Supporting Recess in Elementary Schools
Policy brief summarizing established actions taken by public school districts to support recess and further resources on this topic.

SHAPE America

Guide to Physical Education Policy
Guide that details policy components for physical education in schools, including recommended language, the rationale for including each component, and accountability measures for the components.

Guide for Recess Policy
Guide that details policy components related to recess in schools and provides resources and recommended language for ensuring proper compliance with state requirements.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Fit for a Healthier Generation
Videos designed to provide students with short and engaging physical activity. This video series could be utilized by teachers as an option to promote physical activity to students.

Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition & Physical Activity

Access to Healthy Snacks During Out of School Time
Toolkit and online learning community focused on promoting sustainable policy and environmental change to support healthy snacks and physical activity during out-of-school time.

Out of School Time Curriculum
Curriculum for developing healthy habits, including physical activity and healthy eating, during out of school time.


REFERENCES

  1. Kahan D, McKenzie TL. The Potential and Reality of Physical Education in Controlling Overweight and Obesity. Am J Public Health. 2015;105(4):653-659. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302355.

  2. Erfle SE, Gamble A. Effects of Daily Physical Education on Physical Fitness and Weight Status in Middle School Adolescents. J Sch Health. 2015;85(1):27-35. doi:10.1111/josh.12217.

  3. Howe CA, Freedson PS, Alhassan S, Feldman HA, Osganian SK. A recess intervention to promote moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Pediatr Obes. 2012;7(1):82-88. doi:10.1111/j.2047-6310.2011.00007.x.

  4. Barros RM, Silver EJ, Stein REK. School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior. Pediatrics. 2009;123(2):431 LP-436. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/123/2/431.abstract.

  5. Brez C, Sheets V. Classroom benefits of recess. Learn Environ Res. 2017:1-13. doi:10.1007/s10984-017-9237-x.

  6. Mahar MT, Murphy SK, Rowe DA, Golden J, Shields AT, Raedeke TD. Effects of a Classroom-Based Program on Physical Activity and On-Task Behavior. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2006;38(12). http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2006/12000/Effects_of_a_Classroom_Based_Program_on_Physical.7.aspx.

  7. van Sluijs EMF, McMinn AM, Griffin SJ. Effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity in children and adolescents: systematic review of controlled trials. BMJ. 2007;335(7622):703. http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7622/703.abstract.