This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
When I decided to part-time homeschool the kids I was helped by our Educational Advisor on how to log physical activity. It was the first time I had ever looked at our state’s physical education requirements. I was surprised to learn that my kids were most certainly not getting the recommended daily activity of 60 minutes a day. I started planning activities like crazy and making sure even on rainy days they were getting those heart rates up. It helped that our school offers an optional P.E fitness class called “Finding the Good Within”. The objective of the class is to build confidence physically, mentally and emotionally. This P.E class really focuses on the overall health of my children and it’s a great supplement to their lives. It’s considered an enrichment course, but P.E should actually be a core course, a vital course.
Now more than ever we need to protect the things that enrich the lives of our children. Did you know that only 4% of elementary, 8% of middle and only 2% of high schools provide daily P.E or its equivalent through the school year? Yet 95% of parents with children under 18, think that P.E should be part of the curriculum.
These parents are rarely heard and voices of parents from financially strapped communities are heard even less. Children from low-income neighborhoods often go without physical education courses because of a lack of funding for P.E programs or equipment for play. They miss out on the vital benefits of P.E because of simple geography. The reward of a healthy active lifestyle should be available to all children, no matter their zip code.
Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is hoping to ignite conversations between parents about how important it is to ensure P.E as part of our kid’s curriculum. The Every Student Succeeds Act was created so all students can equally receive a high-quality education. There is a chance that P.E can be included in ESSA for for the first time since its creation. P.E has an actual chance to gain its own funding to ensure it is a part of your child’s daily curriculum. Parents like us need to be advocates for physical education to make certain our children get all the help they can to live long, healthy, happy lives. As the State Department of Education prepares their plans, our voices are the tools we have to help enact change. Let’s not wait until it’s too late, we can start today.