D.C. Gym Class Gets an Overhaul

Gym Class ParachuteStudents no longer need fret over being the last one chosen for team games in gym class. In D.C. area public schools, physical education is shifting its focus to individual fitness and personal health and away from team games. “The trend is to move away from competitiveness,” explains P.E. teacher Donald Hawkins.

Browne Education Campus has adopted the SPARK program, which stands for Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids. The program is specifically designed to fight childhood obesity. The new curriculum features age-appropriate fitness activities that keep kids active for the full class period. Not only are the activities designed to get kids moving more than traditional gym class, they also incorporate lessons about health and the body.

The growing problem of childhood obesity has gained much public attention recently, in part thanks to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. Nearly 20 percent of American children between the ages of six to 18 are obese. D.C. is one of eight states with the highest rates of obesity, according to a 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health.

The D.C. public school system has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, which is helping to fund SPARK and similar programs. “What SPARK has done is to give schools whose principals don’t value PE as much, equipment and resources to make all PE programs successful,” said Hawkins.

Via The Washington Post.

Also Read:

Michelle Obama Launches Childhood Obesity Initiative with LetsMove.gov

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Fight for Our Children’s Right to PE Class

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