The Future of Gym
In a recent publication from the Harvard Education Letter entitled "The 'New PE' Aims to Build Bodies and Brains", Laura Pappano, reports on the “New PE,” which seeks to engage students in high-energy activities for at least 50% of the class period, up from the 35% national average. To put this in perspective, Wisconsin requires students K-6 to have 90 minutes of PE per week over three class periods, but they do not enforce this requirement. If you follow the “New PE” guidelines and follow the Wisconsin requirements, students would be active for only 15 minutes, three times a week.
At MMS, this just doesn’t cut it. We work to engage students for two heart pumping 60-minute classes per week. While we applaud the effort of the “New PE” system, aiming to better utilize time spent in PE, we can’t help but feel disappointed at the low standards they have set. On top of describing a rather meek new standard for PE, Laura Pappano writes that there is a growing body of research suggesting a strong correlation between increased physical activity and academic success.
If you just had a “duh” moment, you’re not alone, yet apparently our federal government and state government need studies like this to look at reforming our PE standards or to even put ones in place. We have long believed that PE not only develops a fit body but maintains and builds a healthy mind. Every day we see our students come back better focused after PE and recess, resulting in higher levels of productivity and success. With many of our students spending nine hours or more five days a week within our care (between day and after school programs), we believe that enriching our already rigorous PE program and continuing to require recess is paramount to nurturing healthy mindsets for our students.