Todd Elementary School
Physical Education: Grades K-5
Why is Elementary Physical Education Important?
Elementary Physical Education ties into the three domains in the following way to show why physical education is important to the whole child:
Physical Benefits: In elementary grades, the physical education program emphasis the development of fundamental locomotors, non-locomotors, and manipulative skills through the main content areas of educational games, dance and gymnastics. The movement framework (i.e. body, space, effort, and relationship) is also a part of the core content and is the basis for developing, expanding, and refining children’s range of motor skills and awareness. Quality instruction by physical education professionals is critical if children are to develop fundamental motor patterns (e.g. jump, throw, skip, hop, catch and kick). The motor skill foundations established during the elementary grades may enhance children’s social, cognitive and physical development and increase the likelihood of continued interest and participation in physical activity. Fitness at elementary grades is supported by a rich experience in many basic movement forms.
Cognitive Benefits: Research suggests that young children learn though active engagement with the “stuff” of their world. Children in elementary school acquire knowledge through physical exploration of their environment. Elementary PE may provide children with learning experiences essential to the formation of mental schemes (i.e., mental patterns or systems that describe the ways people think about the world; building blocks of thinking). Children form more effective schemes by physically interacting with their environment.
Affective Benefits: Elementary can contribute to the development of self-esteem among children. Children who are more active may have greater social success and positive relations with peers. Children need many opportunities to experience personal feelings of success and achievement in physical activity settings. Explorations of various movement capabilities contribute to feelings of joy and accomplishment.
Physical Activity Improves the Quality of Life: In early years, children derive pleasure from movement sensations and experience challenge and joy as they sense a growing competence in their movement ability. Evidence suggest that the level of participation, the degree of skill, and the number of activities mastered as a child directly influences the extent to which children will continue to participate in physical activity as an adult.