Physical Education

THE Core Subject

What do you know about your child’s physical education program? Is physical education part of the school day for your child?  Is daily physical education part of the school curriculum?  Does a certified physical education teacher teach your child?

Those are just a few of the questions you should know the answers to this school year as you educate your child academically as well as physically.  This checklist will help you review your school’s physical education program.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends 60 minutes per day of physical activity for all children.  Physical education programs in our schools provide not only physical activity, but also the skills for a physically active, healthy lifestyle as adolescents and adults.

Here are some well-known facts:

  • Healthy children perform better in school. 
  • Healthy children sleep better at night.
  • Healthy children have a better chance of growing into healthy adults. 
  • Physically active children perform better in school.
  • Physically active children sleep better at night.
  • Physically active children grow up to become physically active adults.
  • Physical education is the core subject for all children.

The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) has just completed the new National Standards for Physical Education—what every child should know and be able to do in order to be physically literate, college and career ready upon graduation from high school.   The five standards focus on competency in a variety of motor skills for successful participation in physical activity; a working knowledge of movement concepts, strategies and tactics; the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain fitness; responsible personal and social behavior; and the enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and social interaction that come from physical activity.

Accompanying the Standards are grade-level outcomes designating the benchmark student learning for each grade level, reflective of the Standards.  At the end of elementary school, learners should have mature patterns of the fundamental motor skills, e.g., throwing, catching, kicking, striking, rolling, jumping, running; a working knowledge of the movement concepts to accompany the skills; the ability to assess individual fitness levels; and responsible interpersonal behavior when engaged in physical activity and sports.  They should experience the joy and challenge that comes from that participation.

Parents and teachers alike should be familiar with quality programs of physical education and strive to achieve and accept nothing less than quality for children.  In the words of a child, “If your body is not healthy, where will your mind live?”  Physical activity and the skills of physical education are not frills; they are the birthright of every child.  Insist on that right for your child; their future is now.  Remember, Physical education is THE core subject; without a healthy body, the mind is nothing.

Connect with AAHPERD on Social Media

Head over to Facebook and “like” AAHPERD. On any given day, you could engage with leading experts in the profession, including award winning K-12 physical, health and dance education teachers, some you might find right in your own backyard

About the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)

The vision of AAHPERD is “Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!” Headquartered in Reston, VA, 25 miles west of Washington, DC, AAHPERD is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, physical activity, dance, school health and sport—all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. Founded in 1885, its mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance and sport by providing its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. For more information, visit