Belvidere High School

OPINION: K-12 physical education should be mandatory

October 19, 2021


BHS students in P.E. class

Physical education continues to be cut out from many school’s curriculum due to lack of funding, lack of resources, or to make room for more “important” academics.

It is recommended by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) that children get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity per day. According to the organization, Illinois is one of the few states that requires K-12 physical education. The role of physical education in the youth is imperative and should be required from K-12 in all states, as it builds valuable social and physical skills.

For one, P.E.  introduces children to a variety of sports. This encourages the development of key life skills such as teamwork, the ability to make friends, and in-person communication. It was in my kindergarten P.E. class that I discovered my love for running, which led me to join cross country and track, which I still do to this day. This is a common story for many of my fellow athletes.

P.E. also provides an outlet for students to decompress and focus their minds on something other than academics. This break helps them be more engaged during their academic classes.

“P.E. is a lifelong attribute, a lifetime investment,” says PE teacher Hugh Stewart.

He said that it teaches you important skills like goal-setting, perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and discipline. Among the other benefits to students are things like structure and responsibility — skills you’ll need throughout your whole life.

Physical education engages student’s minds, bodies, and souls. It is important to encourage students from a young age to take care of themselves, which includes exercise. Habits are created from a young age, so if kids are taught to exercise in a fun way, this will help them form those healthy habits that will be carried into school and beyond.

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