Why Kids Need “Gym Class”

For many children physical education class is their only opportunity to learn about the relationships among exercise, nutrition and health. It is their only opportunity to engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity. For young children it can be their only opportunity to acquire basic body management skills, like body-part identification, spatial awareness and such abilities as stopping and starting on signal.   Many a child has arrived in the early- and upper-elementary grades not knowing her elbows from her shoulders, unable to line up without getting too close to someone else, or lacking the ability to come to a timely halt when faced with an unexpected (or even an expected!) obstacle.

While these skills may not seem as important to many as are literacy and numeracy skills, lack of them may well result in sedentary children who eventually become sedentary adults — as will failure to develop mature patterns for basic motor skills.  More

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