Monday, May 24, 2010

School-Based Physical Education - Five-Step Leadership Program

School-Based Physical Education - Five-Step Leadership Program

"Take care of our children and show them the way.”

We live in a culture of sedentary living and overeating.  Our children are watching, listening and learning about life and how to live from us adults, their leaders. They are not interested in what we have to say. They are carefully watching how we live.

Schools, parents and local, state and federal governments all have a leadership role when it comes to educating our children and keeping them physically fit. What kind of message are they sending our kids?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), twenty percent of our children ages 6-17 are overweight. In 1980, only 6 percent of our children were overweight. Our children are now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was once considered a disease for adults.

In a local newspaper, I read a dismal report. Physical education, music and art are being eliminated from our schools because there is no money to pay for them. The budgets have been slashed and teachers are being let go. This trend has been going on sometime now. Funding for our education system is not expected to increase.

Are we really talking about money and jobs? The primary mission of our school system is to educate our children. Physical education, art and music are just as essential for growth and development of our children as reading, writing and math.

The CDC has determined there is a causal connection between academic performance and school-based physical activity, according to the report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, April 2010, The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance. These findings combined with the state of health of our children make it imperative to find a way to - with or without additional funding or teaching jobs - to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day back into our schools. We will apply the lead-by-example approach and show our kids how important physical activity is.

If the schools do not have the funds to hire additional teachers to implement physical activity of 60 minutes per day, a volunteer corps of certified personal trainers needs to be established to institute the physical activity program.  No child should be left behind when it comes to health and academic performance.

Cut through all the planning committees and trial periods, and take the program out of the bureaucracy and put it to work. There has been enough planning and enough programs readily available. See the federal programs President's Challenge at www.presidentschallenge.org.

Here is a highly effective five-step program to achieve and maintain school-based health and fitness of our children and those who are their leaders.

Step 1: Find-a-way Mindset
Step 2: Assess
Step 3: Train
Step 4: Sustain
Step 5: Again

Step 1: Find-a-way Mindset
Parents, teachers, administrators, school boards as well as local, state and federal governments must maintain a find-a-way mindset to implement 60 minutes of school-based physical activity at least five days per week. The vision, mission and core values of our public schools are student focused. The vision is to provide the highest quality education for all students. We, as the leaders and role models, of our children are accountable and responsible for the development and education of our children. The CDC findings of a correlation between school-based physical activities and academic performance make it imperative to eliminate all excuses for not finding a way to institute this fitness program in all our schools.

Step 2: Assess
All teachers and school administrators are to set the example by taking a fitness test to determine what the true state of their wellness really is. Then, they are to do the same with the help of all those decision makers to establish one hour of daily school-based physical activities for the children and themselves. The program will begin with a physical fitness test of every child to determine the status of fitness. Establish goals for every child based on the fitness test results and other relevant input.

Step 3: Train
School staff and children will train for the next fitness test approximately eight weeks from the first one. Training will be activities based and not academic. Any academics are to be shouted out on the ball field during all other physical activities. We are to put the physical back into physical education and keep it there.

Step 4: Sustain
It's not enough to start a physical fitness program. The program needs to be ongoing. Fitness testing should be every three to six months after initial introduction of the program.

Step 5: Again
Do it again. Again emphasizes a repeat of the previous steps of assess, train and sustain. The program never ends. It is indefinite and physical activity is maintained. School-based physical activity of at least 60 minutes daily is now well established.

Everything we say, do and do not do has an impact on how we live as well as how our children live. Waves of influence have been pouring out to lead a sedentary lifestyle and overeat along with other unhealthy behaviors. It's time to turn this trend around and change our culture from a sedentary one to one that is activities-based and healthy. We owe it to our children. We are their leaders and role models. Take care of our children and show them the way.


Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret is a leading authority on military-style physical fitness for civilians. He is nationally known as the Health Colonel and has been featured on the History Channel. He specializes in a military-style workout for all fitness levels on Fort Lauderdale Beach in South Florida. He is the author of Boot Camp Fitness for All Shapes and Sizes, Weight Loss - Twenty Pounds in Ten Weeks - Move It to Lose It, Discover Your Inner Strength (co-author), Change Made Easy and Quotes to Live By.

Invest in Your Health with Books by the Health Colonel: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/healthcolonel