Aristotle said, "Philosophize AND Exercise"

by SPARK


OK, Aristotle probably never said that, but we do know the ancient Greeks were big supporters of the mind-body connection and whole child advocates. What about YOUR school and district? Even if this topic is Greek to you, read on for a pita full of tasty information you’ll want to share with your fellow teachers and administrator on Monday:

The ancient Greeks had it right all along – Healthy kids are better learners. Today, the data are not Spartan, they are plentiful and rigorously support this theory. While this blog post has an enjoyable and light-hearted description, there is an underlying sense of urgency here: Michelle Obama is on board, galvanizing efforts to combat childhood overweight and obesity. However, a myth exists that must be dispelled: Time away from the classroom engaging students in a quality physical education/activity program means less time for academics and therefore, lowers test scores. The data show this is not true!

Studies will open the eyes of your colleagues. One in particular showed that elementary age students participating in a high activity, well integrated PE program (SPARK) did as well or BETTER on their standardized tests over a period of three years. Click Here for the paper.

But that’s only one side of the calorie balance issue. Not paying attention to the food served on campus is a recipe for disaster. Every school should foster an environment that is conducive to learning. Consuming high fat foods are not only unhealthy, they make children sluggish and shorten attention spans. One of the best ways schools can boost learning and increase standardized test scores, is by properly preparing the bodies, as well as the minds, of their students. Better sleep, more energy, and greater focus are just the beginning. The data also support increased self-esteem and self-confidence in students who participate in PE with an adequate weekly dosage. Additionally, PE can teach, assess, and reinforce positive social skills, and this acquisition transfers to the classroom and may reduce discipline problems. Another impressive benefit of a wellness promoting environment is that healthy students have fewer absences. More days on campus support learning AND boost average daily attendance (ADA) and site revenue.

So next time someone wants to pin you against the Trojan Wall, forcing you to plead your case to keep your PE program, remember what Aristotle said: He’s on your side, and so is SPARK!

We’ve also created a section on our website that provides PE resources (articles, publications, webinars) which support the link between Physical Activity and Academics.

Tags: , ,

  • It is true, healthy kids are better learners. So, how do we improve the health of our children. The school physical education programs and health education programs generally seem to have outdated curricula, especially regarding nutrition. They do a better job of providing children with opportunities of physical activity, but too often the schools I have worked in the gym teachers have too many students to adequately address fitness or athleticism. There are some sports, even at the professional level, we are even seeing professional athletes over weight and out of shape. Granted, that has improved, but it is still a problem.

    Schools, rather than being a solution, contribute to the problem. We typically only give our students 20 minutes to eat and the food selection is too often less than desirable. Students don't have an opportunity to eat at the right times nor with healthy snacks. Having seen health curriculum I tend to agree with the comments made at this site: http://www.physical-education-institute.com/his…. Schools can and must provide lots of opportunities for physical activity and to learn about the health and healing, but they do need to be more receptive to current trends and never to forget to teach students in the skill of discernment and truth seeking. Too often we just give students one side of the story and avoid any “controversy”.

  • It is true, healthy kids are better learners. So, how do we improve the health of our children. The school physical education programs and health education programs generally seem to have outdated curricula, especially regarding nutrition. They do a better job of providing children with opportunities of physical activity, but too often the schools I have worked in the gym teachers have too many students to adequately address fitness or athleticism. There are some sports, even at the professional level, we are even seeing professional athletes over weight and out of shape. Granted, that has improved, but it is still a problem.

    Schools, rather than being a solution, contribute to the problem. We typically only give our students 20 minutes to eat and the food selection is too often less than desirable. Students don't have an opportunity to eat at the right times nor with healthy snacks. Having seen health curriculum I tend to agree with the comments made at this site: http://www.physical-education-…. Schools can and must provide lots of opportunities for physical activity and to learn about the health and healing, but they do need to be more receptive to current trends and never to forget to teach students in the skill of discernment and truth seeking. Too often we just give students one side of the story and avoid any “controversy”.