Physical education in the United States has undergone many transformations as new health, fitness, and nutrition information comes to light. Most recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has initiated a new strategy known as Coordinated School Health (CSH), which aims to provide a more comprehensive approach to the teaching of physical education, as well as providing additional health and nutrition services to PE programs across the country. While improvements in nutritional and physical health continue to evolve, there are some core components that are necessary to the success of all physical education programs.
Just as a well-planned curriculum is essential to successful education programs in the subjects of English, math, or science, the same is true for physical education. The physical education curriculum should be well-rounded and designed to include activities from a variety of sports and other disciplines such as dance and gymnastics. A strong PE curriculum should also include nutritional education, giving students a solid overview of what comprises a healthy lifestyle.
Proper Supplies and Equipment
Depending on how the physical education curriculum has been designed, certain types of supplies and equipment will be necessary in order to carry out a successful PE program. Physical education supplies can be as simple as balls and cones or as complex as pedometers and electronic body mass index devices. Regardless of the complexity, proper physical education equipment needs to be in good working condition so that students get the most out of it. Using old or broken PE equipment will not only limit the physical fitness benefits of students, but it may also pose a safety risk.
In the past, educational institutions may have gotten by with hiring an athletic coach, or even just someone who was interested in fitness, to run their physical education programs. Today, however, physical education instructors are equipped with specialized degrees in health and wellness, exercise physiology, kinesiology, and physical education. It is a known fact that enthusiastic, properly trained teachers are a school’s best chance to motivate students, and that holds true for physical education as well.
Support from Faculty, Staff, and Parents
In times of educational budget cuts, one of the first areas to be placed on the chopping block is physical education. Although childhood obesity is a major issue in the United States, financial troubles always seem to trump proper fitness and nutritional education in schools. For those teaching physical education, this can be an extremely frustrating reality. Rather than always facing budget cuts, a successful PE program will be one that has the full support of both the administration of the institution and the parents of the students. It is important to remember that physical education must extend outside of the walls of the school and into the home if it is truly going to be effective.