How physical education plays a role in your child’s school experience

Kids at play in Seaside.

With the change in season from summer to fall, so to comes significant change for our community. The number of guests visiting our community rapidly diminishes and subsequently so does the flow of traffic. The days get shorter and the weather begins to turn, although it never really felt like we got to the meat of our summer weather this year.

Another change is the return for the children and youth of our community to begin school again. With just two years left until the new school buildings are open, each year and experience will be memorable as the future of the school district is beaming with anticipation.

I recall fondly my first days each year as a student first at Gearhart Elementary then on to Broadway Middle School followed by four years at Seaside High School. Although it was some time ago, I can remember dressing up in my best school clothes for the big day and then promptly ruining them during the first opportunity for recess or outside physical education time.

When I moved back to this area four years ago, I was unpleasantly surprised when my kindergarten daughter told me that she only had P.E. one day a week. That 30-minute session seemed too short to help those kindergartners get all their wiggles out!

That pattern has continued however both with my daughter and now my son. They’ve each had terrific experiences in physical education working with Mr. Sigler a devoted and experienced educator.

Now I know little of the requirements and restrictions that the school district experiences with managing the educational experiences of some 1,500 children so this thought is not a criticism. Rather, it’s a bemoaning of the current state of our society where educators and administrators must choose between educating children for the future or helping them get their appropriate exercise time — both are obviously worthwhile pursuits.

I was thrilled when I heard that each of the elementary schools in the Seaside School District would be getting their own P.E. teachers in the coming year, with the eventual goal of returning that important activity time to the schedule for every student every single day!

The legislators in Oregon certainly had a hand in this change with House Bill 3141 in 2007 and Senate Bill 4 in 2017 helping schools throughout the state with clarification and flexibility in phasing in the change to encourage more activity in students.

But the main point here is that students today, perhaps more than ever, need that activity time found in physical education settings. Brent Courtney (D-Salem) said as much regarding the bill in 2007. “Physical education helps children maintain a healthy weight and build strong bones. It reduces the risk of obesity and related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. It has even been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, leading to better mental health.”

I echo Mr. Courtney’s thoughts and urge all of us to make more time for physical activity in our lives. It benefits our children and youth yes, but it also benefits each of us to move and to play, and the more we do it, the better our bodies are!

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