There are numerous benefits of physical education in elementary schools which have been listed by the advocates of physical education, scholars and researchers. Over the years, different research studies have been undertaken which have reviewed the benefits and relevance of physical education and sport (PE) in elementary schools. Based on the reviews and insights offered by different scholars, overwhelming benefits have been identified from PE.
The benefits of PE are diversified and range from integrated developments of body and mind, cognitive development, enhancement of self confidence and self-esteem, academic achievement and social development among others. Significant differences have been identified among children or even adults who have undergone physical educations and those who have not. The benefits of PE in elementary schools can be viewed from the child development in the following domains, physical, affective, lifestyle, social and cognitive.
There are key areas of a child’s life which are greatly impacted by PE. In particular, Physical Education helps with the development of Children’s social, motor and cognitive skills along with promoting a lifelong healthy way of living. To begin with, physical education supports cognitive development in children. As argued by Bailey (2006), the claim that “healthy body leads to a healthy mind” is beyond doubt. In his arguments, Bailey (2006) acknowledges that physical activity contributes to the intellectual development of children hence the need for its prioritization.
Through physical activity, the flow of blood to the brain is increased which helps in cognitive development resulting in better academic performance. Physical education impacts positively on mood, self-esteem and mental alertness all of which are key elements in cognitive development. A positive correlation has been identified between intellectual functioning and physical education hence demonstrating the benefits of PE in cognitive development. The issues of absenteeism, attentiveness and disciple are significantly influenced by physical activity which in turn boosts cognitive development (Bailey, 2006).
Regular physical activity has been attributed to higher concentration levels among students. This does not only help in cognitive development but also results in higher academic performance. PE is important in the development of memory skills, whereby children are able to remember the rules, play games, such as, dodge ball where children have to remember who got them out and count sit ups which help in remembering sequential order. Through physical activity, children’s mental and cognitive ability is enhanced through the interaction with others.
The mental alertness and blood flow to the brain, which is attained through physical activity yields to cognitive development which in turn develops memory skills. A point worth of consideration is that game and sequences undertaken by children during games require mental alertness and memory, thus meaning they are important to cognitive development (Thomas et al. 2008). Problem solving skills are also improved through PE, whereby children are able to solve problems with their peers during games. Because of the tactics required in winning different games, children learn how to be creative, thus gaining a better approach to problem solving.
While working in groups, children are able to master problem solving methods during games and practice at their own time. This is a boost to cognitive development whereby the issue of problem solving skills is addressed (Bailey, 2006). Through the participation in physical activities in undertaking different games, a child’s motor skills are developed. Motor skills are very important in daily life in the sense that they allow safe, successful and satisfying involvement in physical activities. Children have much to benefit from physical education in the sense that their motor skills of undertaking different tasks are improved.
Physical education in elementary schools helps children to develop motor skills, for performing specific tasks. This entails skills on precise muscle movement, ability to feel or sense the functioning of muscles (Thomas et al. 2008). Physical education helps children to know how to coordinate hand and eye. This is a vital aspect of motor development which helps children to undertake different tasks successfully. Through the involvement in different games and physical activities, a child’s catching skills are developed. A child’s catching
skills are important in day- to- day life both at school and at home for enhancing safe undertaking of various actions. The ability to shoot a basketball is also developed in PE which is a vital component in motor development and particularly the coordination of hand and eye (Graham, 2008). Physical education is of great value in the development of healthy muscles, bones and joints among children. This is attained through different physical activity like running, jumping, football and walking among others. Physical activities offer adequate exercise which is important for developing bones and joints.
Muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and body composition are improved through physical activity. It is imperative noting that physical education improves the general physical fitness alongside the development of motor skills (Thomas et al, 2008). Social development is an important benefit children get from physical education. The ideas that physical education supports social development date many years back. Graham (2008) postulated that physical education and sports support pro-social behavior as well as social development.
The settings for social activity are not only naturally occurring but also enhanced contrived social interactions (Graham, 2008). In this regard, physical education and sports should be encouraged in schools due to their overwhelming social benefits to children. Numerous studies have shown that well-structured and presented physical activities result to positive social development. Graham (2008) added that physical activity can help in combating criminal and antisocial behaviors among children and youth.
Physical education helps in developing sportsmanship. This is an important social development, whereby children learn to appreciate win or lose situations as well as embrace the spirit of teamwork. PE emphasizes competition and outcome of a particular sporting event. This is a special social skill which children attain through involvement in PE. PE helps children to develop moral reasoning, fair play and personal responsibility. These are important social skills which each child needs to have and can only be attained through physical education.
Children acquire social skills through the participation in teams hence embracing social inclusion and combating social exclusion (Haydn-Davies and Kaitell, 2011). The ability of children to interact with others is improved during physical education, whereby children are allowed to talk and play socially. Children also learn how to appropriately react in a team. These insights demonstrate the important social skills children acquire in physical education and sports. The issue of social inclusion is embraced, where children learn the factors resulting in being excluded from different practices, exchanges and modern rights of society.
Despite that there are arguments that PE can lead to social exclusion, there are much more insights into the positive contributions, experiences and skills on social inclusion received from physical activities (Graham, 2008). This is because, PE unlike other social activities bring children together from different economic backgrounds and enable them to share common interests as well as experience a sense of belonging to a club or team, where they are provided with the same opportunities. In light with this scenario, it is apparent that physical education has a crucial role in the development of social skills.
The issues of self-confidence and self-esteem which are realized from physical activities also yield to social development. Children are able to strengthen their peer relationships through socialization and teamwork in different sporting activities (Graham, 2008). Physical education yields numerous benefits to children which help in developing lifelong healthy habits. Children learn how to properly exercise by stretching before and after activity as well as the importance of cardiovascular exercise. The general physical health of children is improved through physical education and sports.
Children learn the recommended amount of physical exercise. This is an important part of combating obesity, heart diseases, risk of diabetes, sleep disorders, asthma and other illnesses. Regular exercises are of important in enhancing cardiovascular health as well as promoting bone and muscle development. These are important health tips which children get through PE. It is a requirement that PE requirements have both cognitive and fitness assessments. This is in relation to the high value of physical health and fitness attained from physical activity.
It can hereby be noted that good PE programs boost and offer guidelines on healthy habits through regular physical exercise (Haydn-Davies ; Kaitell, 2011). Physical education also promotes lifelong healthy habits by showing the fun in exercise. Children are shown how exercise can be done by playing a group game or sport as well as through dance and gymnastics. These are extraordinary and admirable experiences which children encounter, thus motivating them to practice physical exercise even after school. PE offers the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle through regular physical exercise.
The issue of hygiene is also taught in physical education by encouraging children to maintain personal cleanliness throughout their life. In regard to this insight, the worth of PE in instilling lifelong health habits is demonstrated. In his study, Haydn-Davies and Kaitell (2011) argued that physical inactivity is the major risk for coronary heart diseases as well as other diseases and conditions like obesity and diabetes. By teaching children about these health problems resulting from physical inactivity, good habits and behaviors on healthy lifestyles are taught.
The need for regular exercise is emphasized in PE hence enabling children to grow knowing the health benefits of PE (Haydn-Davies ; Kaitell, 2011). It is apparent that physical education could make significant contributions to the development and education of children in elementary schools as well as young people. In the various domains discussed on cognitive, motor and social development as well as healthy habits, the benefits of physical education have been highlighted. It is with no doubt, that PE programs should be established in all elementary schools.
This is in accordance with the numerous benefits of PE to a child’s motor, cognitive and social development, alongside the promotion of healthy living habits. References Bailey, R. (2006). Physical Education and Sport in Schools: A Review of Benefits and Outcomes. Journal of School Health. Vol 76 (8), pp. 397- 401. Datko, A. (2011, Fall). What are the Benefits of Physical Education in Schools? . Retrieved from http://www. livestrong. com Endres, J. , Rockwell, R. , ; Mense, C. (n. d). Benefits and Cautions of Physical Activity. . Retrieved from http://www. education.
com Graham, G. (2008). Teaching Children Physical Education: Becoming a Master Teacher. London: Routldge. Haydn-Davies, D. and Kaitell, E. (2011). Physical Education beyond the Curriculum. London: McGraw Hill Press. Physical Education is Critical to a Complete Education. (n. d). American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Retrieved from http://www. education. com Thomas, K. et al. (2008). Physical Education Methods for Elementary Teachers. New York: Prentice Hall. The Benefits of Physical Education in Elementary Schools