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Quality Physical Educaton

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Quality Physical Education
Apart from the time and effort it may take to come up with an appropriate curriculum, quality physical education is best understood as the way an educator teaches students about the importance of health and wellness, for the reason that its main programs are an effort to create a healthy physical lifestyle for all students. While there are surely more pros than cons regarding physical education, there are issues at hand which teachers, parents, administrators, and students are faced with when providing or receiving quality physical education. Some parents may feel that the standards are set too high, while teachers may feel the standards aren’t high enough. There may be some children who have developmental or health issues, which will require the physical education teacher to reorganize the curriculum. With that said, administrators are basically stuck in the middle as they have obligations to teachers, students, and parents.
While quality physical education is of extreme importance, especially within the elementary school setting, there are many issues educators will stumble upon more often than not. Child obesity and asthma are becoming more and more of a problem, which more than likely stems from their home environment, or a health problem. There are budget constraints, teaching methods, and students with special needs. Despite the fact that all of these factors will come about, it is still important to emphasize the importance of quality physical education and the long term affect it will have on young children regardless of any situation.
With child obesity being a big concern, there are many risks involved, but there are advantages for these children to learn about physical fitness and health. Obesity can cause a child to have low self-esteem, which usually comes from being compared with thinner children or teased by others. It can increase serious health risks like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. According to an article in Kids Health it states, “Obesity increases the risk for serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol — all once considered exclusively adult diseases. Obese kids also may be prone to low self-esteem that stems from being teased, bullied, or rejected by peers. Kids who are unhappy with their weight may be more likely than average-weight kids to:
• Develop unhealthy dieting habits and eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia
• Be more prone to depression
• Be at risk for substance abuse.” (Kids Health, 2012).

Nevertheless, it is very important to have their families involved. When educators are dealing with an obese child, the family should be educated just as the child is. It is common for families of obese children to be overweight themselves and could benefit greatly from learning the health risks and how to live a healthier lifestyle. Children tend to do what they see, and if they see their parents living an unhealthy lifestyle, they are more than likely to do the same. According to the same article in Kids Health it states, “Preventing kids from becoming overweight means adapting the way your family eats and exercises, and how you spend time together. Helping kids lead healthy lifestyles begins with parents who lead by example.” (Kids Health, 2012).
While child obesity is on the rise, children with asthma and special needs are as well. Most children with asthma are known to have severe allergies, which is why it is important to keep the environment clean. Dust, pollens, mildew, and mold are all contributing factors to asthma attacks. While it can be fairly easy for a school to get dirty with so many children there, it is important for the entire staff to contribute to the cleanliness of it and keep any harmful chemicals out of reach of all students. Making sure the school is clean will also help reduce the number of colds, which are passed around so easily.
By the time children with asthmas are in elementary they are aware of their health issue and it is usually controlled; however there will be some cases where a child may need help breathing. This is another reason why it is important to get to know your students. If a teacher is aware of a health problem, they will be prepared if a problem arises. An article from the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital states, “Some children with asthma may need to take their medications during school hours. It is important that the child, family, physician, and school staff all work together toward meeting the child's asthma treatment goals.” (LPCH, 2012)
When health problems are a concern it is imperative teachers knows when a student has special needs. The needs of children with disabilities will vary and should be treated accordingly. There will be some students who are confined to a wheelchair, others who are hearing or seeing impaired, and some who have a mental issue such as autism. Most of these students will have a paraprofessional who help them throughout the day, however it is very important physical education teachers provide each and every student with a quality educational experience. “Providing a quality educational experience for all students is the responsibility of the educational system. All professionals should view this responsibility as an ethical and professional duty rather that something required by law.” (Pangrazi, R.P., & Beighle, A. 2010, Ch. 7 p. 119).
With child obesity, asthma, and children with disabilities on the rise, family involvement is extremely beneficial. Children will value the help and opinions of their families more than anyone else. Inviting them into the class once in awhile may be very helpful for the students as well as the families. The students will work hard to show off what they have accomplished and the families may be able to give some pointers to the teachers or vice versa. Getting families involved is one of the best things for a child’s educational experience. Family involvement is great for students and their families, as well as educators, when parents and teachers can work well together, the students will have motivation and may even gain some self-confidence.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get families really involved as many of them work and have other obligations throughout the school day. Implementing activities after school and on weekends will be beneficial to any student who participates, but will work in favor of children who are obese and their families. There are several things to do that will take up about an hour of everyone’s time. Bike riding, going on nature walks, basketball and swimming at the local recreation center are always fun. These are all great ideas to get the kids some physical activity as well as parents. Not only will it get their heart rate up, they will be spending time with friends and family, and will stay out of trouble without even knowing it. Of course all kids are different and they all may not like doing a particular sport so maybe do a Saturday activity twice a month and change it monthly. According to an article in Kids Health, “School-age kids should have many opportunities to participate in a variety of activities, sports, and games that fit for their personality, ability, age, and interests. Brainstorm with your kids on activities that feel right. Most kids won't mind a daily dose of fitness as long as it's fun.” (Kids Health, 2012). Because kids are so picky about what they like, educators need to find a teaching style that will work for everyone.
It is important for educators to come up with a teaching style that works in favor for all involved. Some school officials may argue there isn’t enough money in the budget for new equipment or more physical education teachers, or that the classes are too difficult for students with special needs. This is exactly why educators need to find and utilize different teaching styles, as creativity may be needed when there is no budget, or when the curriculum needs to be changed because of children who are not developmentally capable of the scheduled activities. A plan to assess and improve motor skills must be made immediately while addressing all of these issues and meets the standards of the N.A.S.P.E.
When planning a curriculum to meet many different standards there are several things to be considered such as the environment, school administrators, the community, facilities and equipment, laws, organization, and budget. Once all of these are known it is important to come up with an action plan to assess and improve motor skills of all students. The first thing to do is to determine what to teach and come up with ways to adjust lessons and activities for the best outcome for students. Beighle and Pangrazi state, “An important consideration is whether certain activities completely exclude certain students. Many students with disabilities have severe developmental lags that will work against successful integration if the curriculum is not modified.” (Pangrazi, R.P., & Beighle, A. 2010, Ch. 7 p. 125). It is important to get to know and observe students so you are able to come up with things, which will work in their favor.
When getting to know your students it is important to ask their general teachers if there is anything they are concerned about regarding health and developmental issues with their particular group of students. General teachers are with the students for a much longer period than a physical education teacher and they probably know the students on a more personal level. It would also be a good idea to look at their medical records to see if there are students with health concerns like obesity, asthma or autism. While autism can be noticed without looking at a medical record, it is essential to know the severity of it, so a curriculum can be created based on their individual needs. As far as asthma goes, some children have activity-induced asthma and may require the use of inhalers before and after physical education class. Children who are obese should be able to work with the rest of the class just at a slower pace.
In conclusion, children who receive a quality physical education are more than likely to have a healthy lifestyle. Of course there are going to be issues like obesity, asthma, budget constraints, teaching methods, and students with special needs. However the sooner a child learns about health and physical fitness, they will be able to include it in their daily routine which will tend to come naturally in adulthood. There will always be modifications that will need to be made, but as long as an educator observes and gets to know the students, these changes should come straightforwardly. Getting families involved by offering monthly weekend activities will work in favor for all who are involved. They will be spending more time together as a family while learning to live a healthier lifestyle.

Reference:

Kids Health. (2012) Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved March 19, 2012 from Kids
Health Official website: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body/overweight_obesity.html

Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. (2012) Asthma and Children. Retrieved March 23,
2012 from the LPCH Official Website: http://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/HealthLibrary/allergy/asthchld.html

Pangrazi, R.P., & Beighle, A. (2010). Dynamic physical education for elementary school children (16th ed.). Benjamin Cummings: Pearson Education Inc.

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