Students 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. (more…)
Schools around the country are cutting back their budgets this year and many great teachers are losing jobs. What subjects are first to go? Physical Education?
Well, a somewhat recent study by Dr. Fred Gage and his colleagues at the Salk Institute in San Diego have successfully proven that exercise increases neurogenesis. What is neurogenesis you ask? Neurogenesis is a process of the human and animal brain in which it produces new brain cells. The study was tested on mice and rats and the results were one-sided. The mice and rats that were allowed to exercise on a spinning wheel performed better hands down than the sedentary mice and rats on several IQ tests (mazes, for example). The results seemed to prove that even a small portion of exercise can make a difference and produce remarkable results.
The study was based on the annual physical fitness assessments of more than 2.4 million students in the Texas public school system. It found that an increase in exercise enhanced the students’ ability to learn. The evidence came in the form of higher scores by physically fit children on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
As might be expected, attendance rates were higher for students who were physically fit. Also, the study found that fitness levels dropped with each passing grade level. Elementary-age children performed the best while high school had the lowest percentage of physically fit students. (more…)