Tag Archives: PE curriculum

First Lady to Drop “Let’s Move” Program

First Lady Michelle Obama announced this week that she’ll be dropping her “Let’s Move” program designed to eliminate obesity in America in a single generation by targeting children and teens. The program got off to an acclaimed start 3 years ago, although critics did call it overly ambitious. With 1/3 of the nation’s children overweight and another 17% medically obese, the program’s intentions can’t be denied: something had to be done about the rampant rise of obesity among the nation’s citizens. The focus of the program became its main problem. After all, we have preschool physical education, elementary school physical education, middle school physical education, and high school physical education. We have an ambitious PE curriculum spread across the country with innovative PE lesson pans and programs — everything from climbing walls in high schools to whole school and community challenges. The problem, it seems, wasn’t in the lack of movement opportunities as it was a war in the grocery store aisles.

The first thing the program’s producers forgot is that most kids don’t buy their own groceries. Their parents do. A program to stamp out childhood obesity that aimed only at the kids’ efforts was doomed to failure. I can make my kids play outside. I can see to it that they get enough opportunities for “moving.” But if all I serve them is pizza, hot dogs, and chips, what good is a half hour of playing tag in the back garden going to do? Of course, I know better and make my kids eat their veggies and buy them fruit instead of empty calorie snacks but not every parent does.

And then there’s the food industry itself. They market all kinds of junk — and that’s not just a figure of speech here — to my kids. They package it in bright, shiny, colorful boxes and advertise it with cute cartoon characters. They make my kids beg for it at the store because it looks so good or so neat on television. They make the food look better with artificial dyes and taste better with tons of high fructose corn syrup or more chemically-induced goodness in the form of artificial flavorings. They make my kids ask for it at the store because everybody else likes it, too. They take fruit juice and water it down, sweeten it up, and repackage it as “100% Vitamin C” — sometimes even fooling ME into buying it because it’s a bargain or because it appears healthy when its actual nutritional value is less than stellar. The food industry took the First Lady’s campaign for healthy eating and fewer junk food ads as an act of war, and they’ve apparently got bigger guns than she does.

Lastly, there’s the sad fact that many of the nation’s overweight and obese children are from impoverished families. Those families often don’t have access to healthy, nutritious food or they don’t have the education to know what they should be buying. Those using the country’s food stamp program SNAP buy 20 million servings of soda everyday. When the state of New York tried to drop soda from SNAP eligibility, everyone, from anti-hunger groups to the soda industry itself, protested that the program was forming a “nanny state,” and the USDA dropped the experiment.

It seems that what we need in America to wipe out obesity in a generation is not so much a program aimed at getting kids to move more; we need a program that gets the adults in charge to think more. Sadly, common sense is one thing in America’s eating habits that does seem to be in short supply.

A Peek Into a Healthy Preschool

There’s a lot of talk, especially in this wintry season, about the health, or rather the lack thereof, of your child’s preschool classroom. They’re little germ factories, where viruses and bacteria are left to run amok, right? And the kids are simply so many pint-sized petri dishes for all the nasty little bugs they help spread around. But it doesn’t have to be this way, at least not as far as the classroom and school are concerned. And the healthier the environment, the healthier the kids and teachers in that environment. Let’s look at some ways to help keep your little one healthy at school.

  • Proper cleaning – Doorknobs, drinking fountains, toilet handles, faucets, toys, chairs, and tables should all be cleaned several times every day to remove any germs that might be lingering there. If your child’s teacher doesn’t have the time, perhaps you could suggest that she involve the children. Teach them to use cleaning wipes and have them help wipe down the classroom’s biggest germ factories once a day. Keep her supplied with cleaning wipes and watch her classroom go from sickly to sparkling clean.
  • Proper nutrition – Many schools serve kid-friendly food, but it turns out that preschoolers can be pretty picky, and sometimes few eat that nutritious lunch or snack. If your child is one of those, send food from home. And make sure it is good food that your kidlet will eat. By good I mean high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants to help fight off all those bad bacteria brought in by other students. Berries, oranges, apples, fresh broccoli or peppers, and kiwi are all easy enough to prepare for school time consumption.
  • Proper exercise – We don’t often think of physical education for preschoolers as a need. They’re so naturally full of energy and activity. However, proper exercise can help little bodies stay healthy. A school where the PE curriculum and physical education equipment are both appropriate and applied frequently will find itself healthier and happier in the long run. Many preschools rely on the playground and recess periods for physical exercise. In the cold, wet wintry months, however, that can fall by the wayside as the weather prohibits its practicality. Find out what your child’s preschool actually does in terms of exercise. If they’re slacking off because its bad outside, make sure to provide your little one plenty of indoor opportunities to move, stretch, and bend.
  • Proper hygiene. Teach your child proper hygiene and make sure that your child’s teacher does the same for the rest of the class. Covering mouths and noses when sneezing and coughing, washing hands often, and other basic hygiene can be taught to children  as young as two, so its almost never too early to start. Also, keep your child home when he or she isn’t feeling well. Coughs, fever, and/or an icky nose situation should be a good sign that your child doesn’t need to be in school that day.

Just because winter is here doesn’t mean that you have to put your three year old in quarantine until spring. You can help your preschool and preschooler become happier and healthier, with just some simple care and precaution.

Lesson Plan and Game Ideas for PE

In elementary school, physical education becomes the foundation for a child’s physical growth and knowledge. In later grades, PE games become a way to inject daily activity into a student’s life.

Considering the skyrocketing childhood obesity rates, PE curriculum has become even more essential to young, developing minds and bodies. An estimated one in three children is at least overweight. Obesity puts kids at risk for numerous health problems, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Strangely enough, in a society focused on health and concerned with the general well-being of children, PE resources are heavily lacking.

Standards and Lesson Plans

Despite the lack of monetary resources, the standards and lesson plans surrounding the nation’s physical education curriculum are still quite appropriate. As a general concept, the curriculum is designed to promote children’s daily activity while incorporating key social skills. This helps them develop a sense of fitness and a healthy mindset to support that fitness.

Standards help as a means of measuring the skills and progress of individual students while providing a template for progressive learning. The standards and activities in elementary school, for example, are not nearly as advanced as those for high school students.

As an example, here is a sample set of standards for elementary school students in California.

  • Standard 1: Students must demonstrate motor skills and movement patterns necessary to perform various physical activities.
  • Standard 2: Students must demonstrate knowledge of movement concepts, principles, and strategies and their application to physical fitness and activities.
  • Standard 3: Students must assess and maintain a level of physical fitness to improve health and physical performance.
  • Standard 4: Students must demonstrate knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles, and strategies to improve health and performance.
  • Standard 5: Students must demonstrate and utilize knowledge of psychological and sociological concepts, principles, and strategies and how they apply to learning and performance of physical activities.

As you can see, these standards interconnect, providing a steady sense of progress as students go from standard to standard.

Games and Activities

The great thing about these standards is that they are broad enough to allow for a wide variety of activities. For instance, the first standard, as complex as it might seem, could include a simple game of tag or hide and seek. The second standard could call for activities like a game of basketball or hockey or even line dancing.