Why students need health and physical education!

A new school year has begun! Students are eagerly filling classrooms with the anticipation of the next ten months. Who is in their class? Who is their teacher? When is “gym”?

 In Ontario, schools are mandated to provide 100 minutes of physical activity a week. This can be in the form of a quality physical education program, or can occur in any form of active classroom instruction that gets the students heart rates beating at a moderate to vigorous level. What is central, is that students are learning, moving, and most importantly having fun!

 So why do students need health and physical education? Here are 5 great reasons compiled from the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum document.

 Health and physical education:

  1. helps students make a commitment to lifelong healthy, active living and develop the capacity to live satisfying, productive lives.
  2. benefits both individuals and society in many ways – for example, by increasing productivity and readiness for learning, improving morale, decreasing absenteeism, reducing health-care costs, decreasing anti-social behaviour such as bullying and violence, promoting safe and healthy relationships, and heightening personal satisfaction.
  3. has been shown by research to present higher academic achievement, better concentration, better classroom behaviour, and more focused learning. Other benefits include improvements in psychological well-being, physical capacity, self-concept, and the ability to cope with stress.
  4. provides the opportunity for students to develop social skills and emotional well-being as well as the skills needed to be successful in life as active, socially responsible citizens.
  5. promotes important educational values and goals that support the development of character. These include striving to achieve one’s personal best, equity and fair play, respect for diversity, sensitivity and respect for individual requirements and needs, and good health and well-being.

 Many of these values are reinforced in other curriculum areas, as well as by society itself. Working together, schools and communities can be powerful allies in motivating students to achieve their full potential and lead healthy, active lives.

 For further information, check out the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum document, or go to www.ophea.net for tools and resources to help you put the physical back in education (and guess what? they’re free too!).

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