PE: Not Enough, Little Structure, Few Resources
Almost all educators (98%) said their schools offer PE, but 43% of educators and 32% of parents said PE at their schools is inadequate. Of those educators, most said that not enough time is devoted to PE and that it should be offered daily and throughout the school year.
Our classes have been cut back from 45 minutes to 36 minutes. That includes changing time. We have nice outdoor fields that we can’t utilize due to time restraints — they require a 5-minute walk one way,” one educator wrote. “Students for the most part are sedentary … more time would allow us to get kids outdoors, include more nutrition education, and develop higher levels of skill proficiency.”
Educators cited other issues as well:
- “Physical education is not structured and not enough time is put into the importance and understanding that adequate exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. The earlier this message is instilled, the more likely they will remain active and healthy later in life. Too much emphasis is put on academics, even though … many studies [show that] adequate exercise and health play a very important role in academics.”
- “Kids are not taught important things such as nutrition, staying active in the winter, making working out fun.”
- “I would like more open space to take my students outside and explore how to play outside. We don’t have open fields or a space to play a soccer game, or a tag game. … We also do not have a lot of equipment or a curriculum. That goes for our health program, too. I use KidsHealth, which is a great resource and I am happy to use it, I just wish there were more things I could add to the PE/health program for my students.”
Some parents who said their school’s PE programs are inadequate agreed with educators that not enough time was spent on the subject.
“The children only get to take PE once per week in a rotation with art, music, and computer lab. I am saddened to know that they are receiving less PE and less time with recess, making it more likely they will become sedentary, which is just feeding the growing obesity epidemic in our country,” one parent wrote. “I feel that they should not only get to take PE daily, but I feel as though they should be able to have a little more recess time. This will encourage them to be more active and healthy.”
“They only have PE once every 4 days. That is not enough time to make an impact on a child,” another parent wrote.
Other parents, however, cited different problems:
- “The girls regularly don’t participate … many students don’t even change out of their clothes and into uniforms.”
- “Kids are playing dodgeball or stacking cups as part of physical education instead of having gymnastics or participating in track and field.”