This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Heart Association. All opinions are 100% mine.
I’m going to cut right to the chase: our children’s physical education opportunities in school are just not cutting it anymore. Despite the fact that our kids spend the equivalent of a full-time job’s worth of hours in school, their opportunities to be active can fit into the average single lunch break. More and more schools are cutting PE entirely because of cutbacks, tests that require teachers to spend more time focusing on core subjects and other reasons that I can’t pretend to understand. We, as parents, have both the power and the responsibility to enact change and tell our educators that physical education is just as important as math, reading and science. A whopping 95% of us believe that PE should be part of every school day, now we have to make our educators listen. The American Heart Association (AHA) is doing their part to get this message across, but they need our help.
Help the AHA Exercise our Kids Minds and Bodies: Protect PE in Schools
When Jacob started Kindergarten back in 2010, I had two questions during orientation. First, how much recess does he get? The answer: 15 minutes a day. I was shocked, but I thought that they MUST be making up for it with plenty of PE classes. So my second question: how often does he have PE? The answer: depends on the week, sometimes twice, but sometimes only once.
Jake’s school runs on a 6-day cycle rather than 5 days. This year, in 5th grade, he has PE on days 1 and 3. While the majority of weeks do see two PE days, at least once a month he has a week that only has one PE class. Those classes are about 30 minutes long, which includes the time it takes to get to the gym, walk back from the gym and get all the kids organized into the activity of the day. It averages out to about 40 minutes of physical activity a week.
When I found out that my son would have such a teeny amount of time to exert physical energy, I got very vocal very fast. I sent the school fact sheets and information from the Centers for Disease Control stating that kids should have more physical activity during school hours. I brought it up at every single parent/teacher conference. I even tried writing the board of education. Although nothing has changed in my son’s district, I’ll still keep fighting to protect PE in our school system. With the American Heart Association’s #ProjectPE advocacy initiative, I feel like there are people and organizations that really understand my mission and have my back.
WHY is PE in Schools so Important?
Why is it so important to protect physical education in schools? Why not just let it go and enroll our kids in more activities after school or send them outside to play more on the weekends? The answer is actually really simple: PE class allows EVERY kid the opportunity to be active. Every kid. Not just the kids who can afford to enroll in sports. Not just the kids with a big back yard, a-cul-de-sac or other safe place to play. PE class doesn’t rely on good weather, good timing or good finances. Every single child has the opportunity to play.
PE isn’t just good for our kids’ overall health, either. It’s also good for their brains! Studies show that kids think better, focus better and perform better when they have opportunities to be active during the school day. It makes sense. They’re able to burn off excess energy, which in turn makes it easier to sit still and listen during class time.
We already know WHY physical education is so important to our children; the question now is how do we get educators to listen up and do their part to protect PE in schools? The best answer to that: use your voice. If you believe PE is an important part of school, support on American Heart Association’s Thunderclap campaign. A simple click allows you to speak up, share the message and help keep our kids active! Show your support to help protect PE in school on Thunderclap!
Check out the American Heart Association’s other initiatives to support our family’s health. I particularly love the Life Is Why campaign! Follow AHA on Pinterest for great ideas on how your family can be more active.
Why do you feel PE is an important part of our children’s education? Share in the comments!