What Should Be Taught in Elementary PE?

November 5, 2023 By cleverkidsedu

Physical Education (PE) is a crucial aspect of a child’s development. It is an integral part of the curriculum in elementary schools, and it plays a vital role in promoting a healthy lifestyle and fostering physical fitness. However, the question remains, what should be taught in elementary PE? In this article, we will explore the key elements that should be included in an elementary PE program to ensure that children receive a well-rounded and effective physical education. From fundamental movements to team sports, we will discuss the essential skills and knowledge that children need to develop to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Quick Answer:
In elementary physical education (PE), students should be taught a variety of fundamental skills and activities that promote physical fitness, motor development, and social interaction. These activities should include a mix of individual and team sports, as well as exercises and games that target different muscle groups and improve coordination. Additionally, students should learn about the importance of proper nutrition and hydration for a healthy lifestyle. Teachers should also emphasize the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, and respect for others, helping students develop important social and emotional skills. Overall, elementary PE should provide a well-rounded introduction to physical activity, setting students up for a lifetime of health and wellness.

Importance of Physical Education in Elementary School

Benefits of Physical Activity for Children

Physical activity has numerous benefits for children that extend beyond physical health. In addition to improving cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility, regular physical activity can enhance cognitive function, boost self-esteem, and promote the development of social skills.

Cognitive Function

Physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function in children. Exercise has been linked to increased brain volume, improved memory, and enhanced executive function. Through physical activity, children can improve their ability to focus, pay attention, and learn.

Self-Esteem and Social Skills

Physical activity can also have a positive impact on a child’s self-esteem and social skills. Team sports and group activities can help children develop a sense of belonging and encourage cooperation and communication. Additionally, physical activity can help children build confidence and feel good about themselves.

Physical Health

While physical activity has numerous benefits beyond physical health, it is important to note that regular exercise can also improve physical health. Physical activity can help children maintain a healthy weight, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

In conclusion, physical activity is essential for the overall health and well-being of elementary school children. By incorporating physical education into the curriculum, schools can provide children with the opportunity to develop critical skills such as teamwork, communication, and self-esteem, while also promoting physical health.

National Standards for Physical Education

SHAPE America National Standards

  • The SHAPE America National Standards for Physical Education were developed by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) to provide a framework for the development of effective physical education programs in elementary schools.
  • These standards are based on research and best practices in the field of physical education and are designed to promote the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of students.
  • The standards cover six areas: movement, physical activity, cognitive concepts, motor skills, fitness, and personal and social responsibility.

Physical Education Curriculum Framework

  • The Physical Education Curriculum Framework is a comprehensive guide that provides a framework for the development of physical education programs in elementary schools.
  • The framework is based on the SHAPE America National Standards and is designed to help educators create high-quality physical education programs that meet the needs of all students.
  • The framework includes guidance on curriculum development, instructional strategies, assessment, and program evaluation.
  • It also provides recommendations for the amount and type of physical activity that should be included in physical education programs at different grade levels.

Core Components of Elementary PE

Key takeaway: Regular physical activity is essential for the overall health and well-being of elementary school children, as it improves cognitive function, boosts self-esteem, promotes the development of social skills, and maintains physical health. Physical education should be incorporated into the curriculum to provide children with the opportunity to develop critical skills such as teamwork, communication, and self-esteem. The SHAPE America National Standards and Physical Education Curriculum Framework provide a framework for the development of effective physical education programs in elementary schools. Elementary PE should include fitness assessments, health-related fitness activities, nutrition education, and the development of motor skills such as locomotor, non-locomotor, and object control skills. Team sports and individual sports, such as golf and tennis, should also be part of the curriculum. Outdoor activities like hiking and camping can be incorporated to promote physical fitness and develop teamwork and communication skills. Technology, such as fitness trackers and virtual reality, can be used to enhance physical education experiences and increase engagement among elementary school students. It is important to create an inclusive physical education program that considers the needs of all students, including those with disabilities, and to be culturally sensitive in promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles. Program evaluation is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of elementary PE programs, and technology can be integrated to enhance student learning experiences.

Fitness and Health

Fitness assessments

Fitness assessments are an essential component of elementary physical education (PE) as they provide a basis for evaluating students’ physical fitness levels and progress over time. These assessments can include measurements such as body mass index (BMI), aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. By regularly conducting fitness assessments, teachers can monitor students’ progress and adjust their lesson plans to meet the individual needs of each student.

Health-related fitness

Health-related fitness is another important aspect of elementary PE. This component focuses on developing the five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Activities that develop these components can include running, jumping, stretching, and weightlifting. Teachers should also incorporate education on the importance of regular physical activity for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Nutrition education

Nutrition education is an essential component of elementary PE as it helps students develop healthy eating habits that can positively impact their physical health. Teachers should provide education on the importance of a balanced diet, including the appropriate intake of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They should also provide information on the benefits of consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as the dangers of consuming excessive amounts of sugar and saturated fats. By providing nutrition education, teachers can empower students to make informed decisions about their diet and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Motor Skills

In elementary physical education (PE), motor skills refer to the ability to perform various movements and actions with precision, control, and efficiency. The development of motor skills is essential for students’ physical fitness, confidence, and overall well-being. There are three main categories of motor skills that should be taught in elementary PE:

Locomotor Skills

Locomotor skills are movements that involve the entire body or parts of the body in movement. They include running, jumping, skipping, hopping, and walking. These skills are important for overall fitness, coordination, and balance. In elementary PE, students should be taught a variety of locomotor skills, including:

  • Running: students should learn proper running form, including arm swing, posture, and foot strike.
  • Jumping: students should learn different types of jumps, such as vertical jumps, long jumps, and bounds.
  • Skipping: students should learn to skip with a rope, double dutch, or using other equipment.
  • Hopping: students should learn to hop on one foot, hop with a jump rope, or hop over objects.
  • Walking: students should learn to walk with proper posture, heel-to-toe movement, and arm swing.

Non-Locomotor Skills

Non-locomotor skills are movements that involve the body’s upper body or individual limbs. They include movements such as bending, twisting, and balancing. These skills are important for overall body control and stability. In elementary PE, students should be taught a variety of non-locomotor skills, including:

  • Balancing: students should learn to balance on one foot, on a balance beam, or on a tightrope.
  • Bending: students should learn to bend their knees, hips, and waist properly.
  • Twisting: students should learn to twist their torso, hips, and limbs in different directions.
  • Stretching: students should learn to stretch their muscles, joints, and limbs properly.

Object Control Skills

Object control skills are movements that involve the manipulation of objects such as balls, racquets, or other equipment. These skills are important for sports and games and promote hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. In elementary PE, students should be taught a variety of object control skills, including:

  • Throwing: students should learn to throw a ball or other object with proper form and accuracy.
  • Catching: students should learn to catch a ball or other object with proper form and technique.
  • Kicking: students should learn to kick a ball or other object with proper form and technique.
  • Striking: students should learn to strike a ball or other object with a racquet, bat, or other equipment.

Overall, the development of motor skills is crucial for students’ physical fitness, coordination, and confidence. By teaching a variety of locomotor, non-locomotor, and object control skills in elementary PE, students can develop a strong foundation for physical activity and enjoyment throughout their lives.

Team Sports

Team sports are an essential part of any elementary physical education program. They help to promote teamwork, communication, and social skills, as well as physical fitness. Some of the key elements that should be taught in team sports include:

  • Team building: This involves activities that help to build trust, cooperation, and positive relationships among team members. Examples might include group problem-solving exercises, relay races, or team-building games.
  • Sportsmanship: This refers to the values and behaviors that promote fair play, respect for others, and good sporting conduct. It includes things like showing respect for opponents, following rules and regulations, and celebrating the successes of others.
  • Fundamentals of team sports: This includes the basic skills and knowledge needed to play a variety of team sports. This might include rules, strategies, and techniques for sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, or flag football.

By teaching these key elements in team sports, elementary physical education programs can help students develop important life skills such as communication, collaboration, and self-discipline, while also promoting physical fitness and healthy lifestyles.

Individual Sports

Golf

Golf is a sport that involves hitting a small ball with a club into a series of holes on a course. In elementary PE, students can learn the basics of golf swings, putting, and chipping. They can also learn about the rules of the game, golf etiquette, and how to keep score.

Tennis

Tennis is a sport that involves hitting a ball over a net using a racquet. In elementary PE, students can learn the basic tennis grip, stance, and footwork. They can also learn how to serve, volley, and play a simple game of tennis.

Track and Field

Track and field is a sport that involves running, jumping, and throwing events. In elementary PE, students can learn the proper techniques for running, jumping, and throwing. They can also participate in various track and field events such as sprints, long jump, and shot put.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity that can be incorporated into elementary PE programs. It involves walking or trekking through various terrains such as mountains, forests, and trails. Hiking can be an excellent way to promote physical fitness, improve cardiovascular health, and develop endurance. In addition, hiking provides opportunities for children to explore nature, appreciate the environment, and learn about wildlife and ecosystems.

Camping

Camping is another outdoor activity that can be introduced in elementary PE classes. It involves spending time in the outdoors, often in a tent or a camper van, and engaging in various activities such as hiking, fishing, and swimming. Camping provides a unique experience for children to connect with nature, develop teamwork and communication skills, and learn survival skills.

Outdoor Adventure Activities

Outdoor adventure activities refer to a variety of recreational pursuits that take place in natural environments. These activities can include rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, and zip-lining, among others. Incorporating outdoor adventure activities in elementary PE programs can provide children with a sense of adventure, promote physical activity, and foster a love for the outdoors. Moreover, these activities can help develop skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and risk management.

Incorporating Technology in Elementary PE

Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers are a type of technology that can be incorporated into elementary physical education classes to help students monitor their physical activity and improve their motivation. These devices are typically worn on the wrist or attached to clothing and use sensors to track various physical metrics such as steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned.

One of the main benefits of using fitness trackers in elementary PE is that they can help students become more aware of their physical activity levels. By wearing a tracker, students can see exactly how much they are moving throughout the day and how their activity levels compare to recommended guidelines. This can help motivate them to increase their physical activity and make healthier choices.

In addition to promoting physical activity, fitness trackers can also help improve motivation in elementary PE classes. By setting goals and tracking progress, students can see the impact of their efforts and feel a sense of accomplishment. This can help motivate them to continue participating in physical activity and make it a regular part of their daily routine.

However, it is important to note that fitness trackers should not be used as a replacement for traditional physical education classes. While they can be a useful tool for monitoring physical activity and improving motivation, they should not be relied upon as the sole source of physical activity for elementary school students. A well-rounded physical education program should include a variety of activities and exercises that promote physical fitness, motor skills, and social interaction.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that is becoming increasingly popular in physical education. VR technology can be used to enhance physical education experiences and increase engagement among elementary school students. Here are some ways VR can be used in elementary PE:

Improving Motor Skills

One of the main benefits of using VR in physical education is that it can help students improve their motor skills. By using VR simulations, students can practice and refine their movements in a safe and controlled environment. For example, students can use VR to practice hitting a target in archery or making a basket in basketball.

Enhancing Physical Education Experiences

VR can also be used to enhance physical education experiences by providing students with a more immersive and engaging environment. For example, students can use VR to explore different environments such as a rainforest or a mountain range. This can help students develop an appreciation for the natural world and inspire them to be more active and engaged in physical activity.

Increasing Engagement

Finally, VR can be used to increase engagement among elementary school students. By using VR simulations, students can experience physical activity in a fun and exciting way. For example, students can use VR to simulate skiing, surfing, or even space walking. This can help students develop a positive attitude towards physical activity and make it more enjoyable for them.

Overall, incorporating VR technology into elementary PE can have many benefits for students. It can help them improve their motor skills, enhance their physical education experiences, and increase their engagement in physical activity. As VR technology continues to evolve, it is likely that it will become an increasingly important tool for physical education teachers.

Inclusive Physical Education

Adapting Activities for Students with Disabilities

When designing physical education programs for elementary school students, it is important to consider the needs of all students, including those with disabilities. One way to ensure inclusivity is by adapting activities so that they can be modified to meet the needs of students with different abilities.

Some strategies for adapting activities for students with disabilities include:

  • Modifying activities: This can involve simplifying the activity, breaking it down into smaller steps, or modifying the equipment used. For example, a student with visual impairments may use a tactile soccer ball instead of a traditional one.
  • Incorporating assistive technology: Technology can be used to support students with disabilities in participating in physical activities. For example, a student with mobility impairments may use a wheelchair or a walker equipped with sensors to play a game of basketball.

By adapting activities and incorporating assistive technology, physical education teachers can create an inclusive environment where all students can participate and benefit from physical activity.

Cultural Sensitivity

  • Importance of cultural sensitivity in physical education
    Physical education plays a vital role in promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles among children. However, it is crucial to ensure that the curriculum is inclusive and caters to the diverse needs and backgrounds of students. One essential aspect of inclusivity is cultural sensitivity, which involves understanding and respecting the cultural differences among students.
  • Strategies for incorporating diverse cultures into physical education
    Incorporating diverse cultures into physical education can be achieved by integrating cultural practices, games, and traditions into the curriculum. Physical education teachers can also encourage students to share their cultural practices and traditions, creating a sense of belonging and inclusivity. Furthermore, it is essential to provide cultural competency training for physical education teachers to ensure that they are sensitive to the diverse needs of their students.
  • Benefits of cultural sensitivity in physical education
    Cultural sensitivity in physical education can promote cultural competence, understanding, and respect among students. It can also help to create a positive learning environment where students feel valued and included. Furthermore, incorporating diverse cultures into physical education can enhance the learning experience and provide students with a broader perspective of the world.

Evaluating Elementary PE Programs

Assessing Student Learning Outcomes

Assessing student learning outcomes is a crucial aspect of evaluating elementary PE programs. By assessing student learning outcomes, educators can determine the effectiveness of their PE curriculum and make necessary adjustments to improve student performance. Here are some ways to assess student learning outcomes in elementary PE:

Physical fitness tests

Physical fitness tests are a common way to assess student learning outcomes in elementary PE. These tests can measure various aspects of physical fitness, such as cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Examples of physical fitness tests include the beep test, shuttle run, sit and reach test, and curl-up test.

Performance assessments

Performance assessments are another way to assess student learning outcomes in elementary PE. These assessments evaluate students’ ability to perform specific skills and movements, such as throwing, catching, kicking, and striking. Performance assessments can be conducted during class activities, games, and competitions. Examples of performance assessments include observation checklists, rubrics, and self-assessment checklists.

In addition to physical fitness tests and performance assessments, educators can also use other methods to assess student learning outcomes in elementary PE, such as student feedback, portfolios, and benchmark assessments. By using a variety of assessment methods, educators can get a comprehensive view of student learning outcomes and make informed decisions about how to improve their PE curriculum.

Program Evaluation

Program evaluation is a crucial aspect of assessing the effectiveness of an elementary PE program. It involves gathering data and feedback from students and parents to identify areas of improvement and implement strategies for continuous enhancement. Here are some key components of program evaluation in elementary PE:

Collecting Feedback from Students and Parents

One of the primary methods of evaluating an elementary PE program is by collecting feedback from students and parents. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews. Students can provide insights into their experiences in PE classes, such as the quality of instruction, the variety of activities offered, and the level of engagement. Parents can offer valuable perspectives on the program’s impact on their children’s physical and emotional well-being, as well as any concerns they may have.

Continuous Improvement Strategies

Based on the feedback collected, continuous improvement strategies can be implemented to enhance the elementary PE program. This may involve revising the curriculum to include more diverse activities, providing additional training for teachers to enhance their instructional skills, or addressing specific areas of concern raised by students and parents. Continuous improvement ensures that the program remains relevant, engaging, and effective in promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles among elementary school children.

Additionally, program evaluation can help identify best practices in elementary PE that can be shared with other schools or organizations. By sharing successful strategies and approaches, schools can collaborate and learn from each other, leading to improved PE programs across the board.

In conclusion, program evaluation is a vital aspect of ensuring the effectiveness of elementary PE programs. By collecting feedback from students and parents and implementing continuous improvement strategies, schools can ensure that their PE programs are well-rounded, engaging, and aligned with the goals of promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles among young children.

Future of Elementary PE

Integrating Technology into Physical Education

As technology continues to advance, it is becoming increasingly common to see it integrated into various aspects of education, including physical education. Incorporating technology into physical education can enhance students’ learning experiences and provide new opportunities for them to develop their physical abilities.

One way technology is being integrated into physical education is through virtual reality and gaming. Virtual reality allows students to experience simulated environments that can be used to teach a variety of physical skills, such as balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. For example, students can use virtual reality to practice navigating obstacle courses or to experience different types of physical activities, such as skiing or rock climbing.

Another way technology is being integrated into physical education is through wearable technology, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches. These devices can be used to monitor students’ physical activity levels and provide feedback on their performance. This technology can also be used to encourage students to be more active by setting goals and tracking their progress.

In addition to virtual reality and wearable technology, there are many other ways that technology can be integrated into physical education. For example, students can use online resources to learn about different types of physical activities and to find new ways to stay active. They can also use video analysis software to review their performance and identify areas for improvement.

Overall, integrating technology into physical education can provide students with new and engaging ways to learn about and develop their physical abilities. As technology continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more innovative ways to incorporate it into physical education programs.

Increasing Physical Activity Outside of School

One strategy to promote physical activity in elementary school students is to encourage physical activity outside of school. This can be achieved through community partnerships and family engagement.

Community Partnerships

Schools can collaborate with local community organizations to provide opportunities for students to engage in physical activity outside of school. For example, schools can partner with local parks and recreation departments to offer extracurricular activities such as sports teams, fitness classes, and outdoor adventure programs.

Community partnerships can also provide access to facilities and resources that schools may not have, such as swimming pools, ice rinks, and gymnasiums. By working together, schools and community organizations can provide a more comprehensive and diverse range of physical activity options for students.

Family Engagement

Another strategy to increase physical activity outside of school is to involve families in the process. Families can play an important role in promoting physical activity by encouraging their children to be active at home, providing opportunities for physical activity, and supporting their children’s participation in physical activity programs.

Schools can engage families by providing information about local physical activity opportunities, hosting family-friendly events and activities, and encouraging families to participate in physical activity programs together. By involving families, schools can create a supportive environment that encourages physical activity both in and out of school.

Preparing Students for a Lifetime of Physical Activity

In order to prepare students for a lifetime of physical activity, it is important to focus on long-term athlete development and lifetime fitness skills in elementary physical education.

Long-term Athlete Development Model

The long-term athlete development model is a holistic approach to athlete development that emphasizes the importance of proper training and development at all stages of an athlete’s career. This model recognizes that athletes develop at different rates and that different skills need to be developed at different ages. By implementing this model in elementary physical education, students will learn the foundational skills necessary for a lifetime of physical activity.

Lifetime Fitness Skills

In addition to the long-term athlete development model, it is important to teach lifetime fitness skills in elementary physical education. These skills include proper nutrition, injury prevention, and mental health. By teaching these skills, students will be better equipped to make informed decisions about their physical health throughout their lives.

It is also important to teach students about the importance of physical activity for overall health and well-being. By instilling a love of physical activity at a young age, students will be more likely to engage in regular physical activity as adults. This will not only improve their physical health, but also their mental health and overall quality of life.

Overall, by focusing on long-term athlete development and lifetime fitness skills in elementary physical education, students will be better prepared for a lifetime of physical activity and good health.

Addressing the Obesity Epidemic

  • Increasing Physical Activity in Schools
    • Implementing daily physical education classes
    • Encouraging physical activity during recess and other non-structured times
    • Creating opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day, such as active transportation to and from school
  • Encouraging Healthy Lifestyle Choices
    • Teaching students about the importance of a balanced diet and regular physical activity
    • Encouraging students to make healthy choices when it comes to food and drink selections
    • Educating students on the risks associated with obesity and the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight
    • Encouraging families to get involved in physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices
    • Providing resources and support for students and families to make healthy choices

As the obesity epidemic continues to be a major public health concern, it is essential that elementary physical education programs are designed to address this issue. Increasing physical activity in schools and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices are key components of addressing the obesity epidemic in elementary school students. By implementing daily physical education classes, encouraging physical activity during recess and other non-structured times, and creating opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day, students can be given the opportunity to engage in regular physical activity.

Teaching students about the importance of a balanced diet and regular physical activity, and encouraging them to make healthy choices when it comes to food and drink selections, is also crucial in addressing the obesity epidemic. Additionally, educating students on the risks associated with obesity and the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight can help to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Encouraging families to get involved in physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices, and providing resources and support for students and families to make healthy choices, can also play a significant role in addressing the obesity epidemic in elementary school students.

FAQs

1. What is the importance of physical education in elementary school?

Physical education is essential in elementary school because it helps children develop healthy habits, build strong bones, muscles, and cardiovascular health, and foster a positive attitude towards physical activity. Moreover, it improves their coordination, balance, and motor skills, which are essential for their overall development.

2. What are the key components of an effective elementary PE program?

An effective elementary PE program should include a variety of activities that promote physical fitness, motor skills development, and social interaction. These activities can include running, jumping, throwing, catching, kicking, striking, and hitting. The program should also focus on teaching children the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play.

3. How much time should be dedicated to physical education in elementary school?

Elementary schools should dedicate at least 150 minutes per week to physical education, with at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. However, some schools may allocate more time to physical education depending on their curriculum and resources.

4. What types of activities should be included in an elementary PE program?

An elementary PE program should include a variety of activities that are age-appropriate, safe, and enjoyable for children. These activities can include running, jumping, throwing, catching, kicking, striking, and hitting. Additionally, the program should include activities that promote teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play, such as team sports, relay races, and cooperative games.

5. How can parents support their child’s physical education in elementary school?

Parents can support their child’s physical education by encouraging them to participate in physical activities outside of school, such as sports teams or fitness classes. They can also help their child develop healthy habits by ensuring they get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and limit screen time. Furthermore, parents can attend parent-teacher conferences to discuss their child’s progress in physical education and work with the teacher to develop an individualized plan for their child’s physical development.

A Better Way to Teach PE?