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Keeping Kids Active in School

by Dan Kerr, Middle School Principal of  Shanghai Community International School (Hongqiao Campuses)

SCIS MIddle School Principal discusses the importance of Physical Education.

Keeping Kids Active in School

Let me start by saying that I am definitely biased in my stance on the benefits of a quality PE program for kids because it was easily my favorite subject growing up. I was a kid who found self-confidence and self-esteem through sport, and being active and healthy was something that I didn’t have to think about that much, honestly.  Now that I’m in the position to see how much time, effort, planning, organization, energy, and expertise that goes into building a successful PE program, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the educators who have committed their lives to teaching Physical Education.

I spent this past week scouring through websites, scholarly articles, research papers, and newspaper editorials trying to find as much evidence as I could that documented the incredibly positive effect that PE has on the current and future lives of our students. I basically whittled it down to 7 reasons why PE is so imperative and I thought I’d share a list of what I found out…

1. It promotes academic learning and is directly related to student achievement

– Current research discusses how a strong and healthy cardiovascular system produces longer attention spans during classes, which subsequently allows for longer/deeper concentration and a greater capacity for information absorption.

2. It builds self esteem

– Students who are involved in physical activities (particularly team sports….and yes, swimming, tennis, and athletics are considered team sports) have more confidence, better social lives, and stronger images of themselves.

3. It develops sportsmanship, cooperation, and teamwork

– PE teaches skills that are integral to being a successful adult like working together toward a common goal, learning how to develop and sustain relationships, and how to be competitive in a healthy way.

4. It promotes the importance of a lifelong healthy and active lifestyle

– Research shows that the more that kids embrace sports and activities, the less likely they are to engage in behaviors like smoking, drug use, and irresponsible alcohol consumption. Active, healthy, and sporty kids also have less instances of teenage pregnancy, as well as much lower drop out rates.

5. It builds muscle strength, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination

6. It’s a preventative measure against disease

– Regular PE directly and profoundly helps with issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes among other issues that arise when students are sedentary.

7. Health units implicitly teach hygiene, good eating habits, CPR, and other values and skills that go into the development of a positive teenage lifestyle.


I could easily go on and on about the benefits of a PE program for our kids but I think you get the idea.