What Are the Goals of Physical Education?

by SPARK


physical education

In recent years, physical education has been falling out of its position as a staple of the traditional school day. Research not only connects regular P.E. classes with improved academic performance, but also suggests that lack of activity could be damaging children’s cardiovascular health. Despite the scientific evidence, the modern curriculum continues to impede physical education in favor of more time spent in the classroom, placing additional pressure on physical educators and school departments to optimize the time allotted towards achieving crucial fitness goals.

In schools for all ages, the physical education program is responsible for helping students learn the value of activity for health, recreation, social interaction, and more. Here’s what you should aim for when outlining goals as a physical educator, or organizing a school P.E. department.

1. Teaching Essential Body Management Skills

The most well-known goal of any physical education class is to promote movement – but there’s more to this aspiration than breaking students out of a stationary lifestyle. P.E. classes teach children skills that they will use throughout their entire lives.

For many younger children, physical education classes offer their first chance to learn about the relationships between nutrition, exercise, and health, while acquiring basic body management skills such as:

  • The ability to stop and start on signal
  • Spatial awareness
  • Body part identification
  • Balance and control

Though these skills may not seem as crucial as literacy and numeracy, the absence of them can result in sedentary children who feel too “clumsy” to engage in any regular activity. After time, the inability to develop mature motor skills can cultivate sedentary adults, who struggle to achieve career goals or lack self-confidence.

2. Promoting Physical Fitness as Fun

Quality instruction from dedicated educators helps children develop fundamental motor patterns. But it’s also important for teaching students that being active can be a fun, natural habit.

The more that young students consider physical fitness a natural part of their daily schedule, the more likely they are to be engaged in fitness as they age – leading to a healthier lifestyle. One in three children are overweight in America, and youngsters who enjoy physical activity are the ones most likely to be active in the future.

While physical education isn’t the only factor helping children get active, it can be a useful way to help them uncover new skills and discover activities that they enjoy. By exploring a range of sports and fitness solutions, from gymnastics to running and climbing, physical educators give students a chance to find the activity that appeals most to them – giving children their own personal tool in the fight against obesity.

3. Developing Teamwork, Sportsmanship, and Cooperation

Physical education allows children to experience healthy social interactions, teaching cooperation through group activities, and encouraging teamwork through identification as one part of a team. These social skills stay with children throughout their lives, increasing the chance that they’ll become involved in their communities, take leadership roles, and build lasting relationships. Social skills develop confidence, contributing to academic performance and mental health.

When students are stressed, they struggle to focus and manage their emotions properly. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, promoting positive mental health and enhanced learning aptitude. Although reduced time for physical education is often justified as a way to help students spend more time in the classroom, studies have shown that regular activity during the school day links to higher concentration levels, more composed behavior, and happier students.

Setting Goals is Crucial

In a physical education setting, the right goals will:

  • Engage students in P.E. class
  • Attract the attention of distracted learners
  • Create an environment that cultivates movement
  • Teach the values of health and exercise

Establishing goals within physical education can also help students learn the value of setting their own personal and achievable goals in relation to their favorite activities. Teach kids about goal-setting by recording each child’s best sprint time and showing them how they improve through the year, or encouraging students with a particular interest to take their skills to the next level.

From developing motor skills for younger children to creating an environment where students can cultivate a positive attitude towards physical fitness, well-designed physical education goals will not only boost kids’ education, but prepare them for an active, healthy, and productive lifestyle.

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