Students at Tampa Schools Receive Physical Education

Written by Patricia Hawke for

Not long ago, the Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, signed a new piece of legislation targeted at Florida schoolchildren. Established by Executive Order in March 2007, the Council on Physical Fitness aims to ensure that youngsters have positive experiences with physical activity so that they choose a lifelong relationship with active, healthy living. Students attending Tampa schools, along with the rest of Florida’s students, are required (at the elementary level) to receive 150 minutes of P.E. a week – about 30 minutes each day in grades K-5.
More than Just Recess
The executive order is talking about more than just recess. Tampa schools’ students are expected to participate in structured activities led by a physical education or regular education teacher. Lessons can include dance, team sports (soccer, basketball, baseball, football, lacrosse, etc…), calisthenics, track, gymnastics, and yoga. The importance of unstructured, physical play that kids get while running around on the playground is recognized, but for many schools, getting the kids at Tampa schools outside and doing something physical has to be required to ensure that it gets done in the first place.
You Can Lead a Horse to Water…
No matter how many executive orders are handed down to Tampa schools, the truth is that way too often, teachers and administrators are forced to cut back on the “extras” like recess and physical education classes in favor of more intensive reading and math instruction so that students enrolled in Tampa schools can score well on the state tests. Teachers are feeling more and more pressure to teach to the test; and they need more time to do it in if they are to get the students at Tampa schools ready in time.
Shouldn’t This Start at Home?
Physical activity would be best begun at home, like everything else. Unfortunately, there are lots of families of Tampa schools that simply do not or can not make time for their kids to get outdoors and be active. Working two or more jobs, the adults have little time or energy to devote to making sure their kids are getting adequate exercise. Maybe these kids of Tampa schools are home by themselves after school and do nothing but sit in front of the television or game system until mom and dad come home. The truth of the matter is that, just like many kids receive instruction in character education, some kids must rely on Tampa schools to ensure they are getting adequate exercise.
What’s the Goal?
The main goal of the newly established Council is to provide physical education instruction to students at Tampa schools which focuses on strength, agility, flexibility, movement, stamina, teamwork, fair play and nutrition.
While not everyone agrees that schools have a part in educating Tampa schools’ children past the 3 Rs, it is a fact that Tampa schools are in a position to do more than that; and Florida’s governor is doing everything he can to make it so.