Dirty Secret School Administrators Don’t Want Parents to Know

Remember the days when you had recess in the morning and either at lunchtime or in the afternoon?  You ran around with your friends, sometimes played games or sometimes played on whatever equipment was on the playground.  Besides us as kids getting a break, the teachers got a break also from standing in front of the class and trying to educate while making sure nobody misbehaved.  Aside from “the bad kid” most days everyone got along and class ran smoothly.

Fast forward to today’s culture of low to no opportunities for physical activity in most schools.  Kids are in class longer, no recess or playtime even at lunch, and a lot more homework than adults ever remember in elementary and junior high.  In fact, taking away recess and PE are now punishments which end up being inflicted upon the teacher because now kids are more riled up and harder to handle.  Now add in the waivers and ease of getting out of PE for worthless reasons like “my child gets out of breath when running.”  Really?  No kidding, what an update.  Maybe your child needs to run in addition to you, Mr. & Mrs. Overweight Parent.

Where does this culture start?  At the top of the food chain, like any other company and organization.  The attitudes of principals and administrators on physical activity and education plays a direct role in how much your child gets daily and weekly.  When was the last time your school’s principal or administrator truly got out and observed PE like they do for math, science, and language arts?  PE teachers need accountability and steps for improvement like all other subjects.  Rolling the ball out and making kids stand in line doesn’t teach them physical education.  It’s recess and lack of caring by the top down.  As parents, you have the right to have PE actually teach something to your children.

What’s the dirty secret all these educational experts don’t want you to know?

Physical activity and true physical education make your kids smarter!

Don’t believe me?  Maybe Harvard Medical School can convince you.

Yep, that’s right.  Getting out of the classroom to move around reduces behavior problems and helps their brains to grow.  Inflicting endless hours of homework and more classroom time hasn’t done us the good they promised decades ago.  The result is higher obesity, higher healthcare costs, lazier society with entitlement, and more “psychological” problems.  All of this can be reduced or eliminated with some fun and movement.  But SSSHHHHHHH don’t tell school administrators this. They still think higher test scores come from Common Core.

Don’t be too hard on them though.  They just need some light shared on the benefits of physical activity and physical education.  Help them by letting companies like Movement Academy shed light on the subject.  In the end everyone truly does win by moving around more.  The conclusion, be vocal with your school leaders to ensure they are maximizing physical activity and physical education.  Let us help you, email us at info@movementacademy.net.

#thoughtfulthursday #education #teacher #school #parents

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Quitting Sports at 13

#workoutwednesday #wellnesswednesday

Turning 13 is a big deal for kids.  They begin the true coming of age process and their bodies start wholesale changes mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Each child is different on when they start this maturation process as it doesn’t happen the day they turn 13.  With these changes comes more desire for independence and a stronger focus on what a child likes to do for fun, hobbies, and sports.  While all these changes are new and exciting for the child, they are not always so for parents.

Follow the story, your child plays soccer and basketball and has for the past 3 years in each sport.  He or she is above average, has friends they hangout with in both sports, appears to enjoy practices and games,  and is free from major injury. One day your child walks into the kitchen and announces they are done playing both sports.  You are confused and maybe angry about this choice and ask why.  The answer of “I’m just tired of it,” doesn’t satisfy you and you press on for a reason.  Your pressing meets with more roadblocks then a final, loud expression of anger by your child and he or she stomps away to their room.  You are still standing there dumbstruck and powerless, wondering what just happened and why.

Many sources report a 70% dropout rate of kids who quit sports at 13.  This is not a new topic, but still one that continues to hold interest of parents, coaches, and teachers.  In addition, there is not a single source problem or solution.  One aspect that we at Movement Academy address is teaching sports specific skills to soon in a child’s physical development.  We believe in the long term athletic development philosophy of teaching fundamental movement skills to ALL youth until the pubescent growth curve.  The rationale is giving kids a stronger base of confidence and support in being athletic for life, not just playing a high level of competition in one sport.  The Canadian Sport for Life model is the best worldwide model of this.

The financial impact of youth sports is now a multi billion dollar industry, and not especially regulated with a child’s health & safety as a primary goal.  Parents pay 10% and sometimes more of their income for their 10 year old to travel every weekend and practice 4 nights a week for up to 2 hours per practice.  While no science states this specialization at an early age makes children better, it certainly generates more revenue of which sports teams and clubs are not about to give up. Youth sports is now “Keeping up with the Joneses,” and the short intense rush ends up to be a long slow burn.  The enjoyment and fun is too quickly replaced by the win now at all costs.

Wouldn’t it be great to have more recreational sports available till the age of at least 16?  How much healthier would our society be with more kids being active for more years?  Yes, winning and losing are important lessons to learn, this is not about the “participation trophy.”  Instead, it’s about helping youth maintain a physically fit lifestyle where they can have fun playing sports they enjoy, even though they are not the top talent.  Remember, less than 5% of kids get D1 scholarships.  Sure, make wins and losses count, while continuing all the intangibles sports provide, just on a less win or die trying system.  Lots of adult leagues exist in a variety of sports, no need to make a person wait 10-15 years before doing something they truly love again.

The sad truth is money makes the world go round, and this trend of sports specialization from the womb to feed someone’s wallet isn’t stopping soon.  Parents, keep kids in multiple sports for their entire youth and make sure they are physically literate.  You are the frontline and decide if Coach Joe Knowitall gets to coach your child.  Encourage the fun and give your kids proper fundamental training before they go all in on something.  You were once 10, and have memories of what made you love being on the field or court.  Help your kids make those memories last longer and for a lifetime of being fit and active.

If you don’t agree or want to give support, contact Matt Peale at mpeale@ltmacademy.com.  He wants to hear from you.  Also check out his company Movement Academy.

 

Educating the Physical Educator

Professional development is a standard part of being a teacher.  While in school, I thought teacher in service days were awesome because I got a day off and the teachers really didn’t do anything worthwhile and also had a similar vacation day. Fast forward to now, my company, Movement Academy, puts on professional development seminars for PE teachers.  In reality, the teachers don’t have a full day off and hopefully learn a few valuable lessons to make them more effective.

To date, we have conducted seminars throughout Louisiana and in the Birmingham, AL, area.  One alarming issue is consistent, physical education teachers do not receive the same professional development attention as STEM and core subject teachers.  PE teachers unfortunately are viewed as elective instructors and not necessary for ongoing new learning.  Many school districts we talk too do not have dedicated professional development for PE, instead lumping them in with other elective courses or forcing them to scavenge for something they can talk about.  Last time I checked, childhood obesity and inactivity is still an issue talked about on the news, but school boards like to dodge the issue and not give their teachers and coaches anything consistent to combat the problem.

PE teachers thirst for knowledge to keep their classes interesting and renew their personal “why” just like other teachers.  To prevent “roll the ball out”mentality that is too prevalent, school boards have to invest the same attention and money into true physical education.  Where can it start, with parents who take an active interest in their child’s physical health besides their ability to read and write.  Obese and inactive children become obese and inactive adults that are out of work more, and cost more money from insurance companies and employers to keep around.  Where does it start, in PE every day and week.  Unlike subject specific teachers, PE teachers and coaches teach EVERY child in the school and sometimes EVERY year depending on school size.  Yet why are they being neglected to improve their skills and abilities to make an impact on the most important aspect of living, our health!

 

The common theme to why PE is treated like a step child is due to no standardized testing.  States and school districts leave the how and what to test up to individual teachers.  Human nature is to follow the path of least resistance, so with nothing definite to hold people accountable, what do you think is the outcome?  It’s the 80/20 rule, 20% of the PE teachers really care and do 80% of the push to improve their skills.  Nobody will admit to it, but I promise if a secret camera could be used to show what is done in PE, the 80/20 rule is 100% in effect.  Superintendents, administrators, principals, state leaders, start showing PE teachers and coaches love by providing regular and dedicated professional development.  EVERYONE BENEFITS!!

 

Physical literacy is the same as reading literacy, it must be taught and nurtured to grow strong and have a true appreciation for a lifetime.  Please contact me regardless of where you live, to start a wave of professional development for physical educators.  If you are in a leadership position, I challenge you to start this month with your PE teachers.  Email me, Matt Peale at mpeale@ltmacademy.com, and I will help you get started.

#thursdaythoughts #thankfulthursday

 

Have You Watched a 10 Year Old Touch Their Toes Lately?

When was the last time you noticed your child’s or any other child’s range of motion and flexibility?  Have you noticed they have problems touching their toes or even ankles with straight legs?  In addition to the obesity and sedentary epidemic, there has become a lack of muscle flexibility epidemic.  In working with youth ages 8-13 on a regular basis, a large percentage of them male and female have horrible flexibility.  Their lower back and hamstrings are so tight and underused they can barely stand on one foot much less bend at the waist to touch their foot.  Ask a child to perform a sumo stretch as in the picture below and you will be astounded by what you see.

Flexibility is one of the core components of overall fitness.  Yes, it is a use it or lose it skill.  Children are more pliable than adults due to their bones still hardening as they mature and hit puberty.  With kids sitting and starting at video screens more often, they are also losing range of motion that is extremely difficult to get back as an adult.  Does this mean you have to enroll your child in Bikram Yoga?  Absolutely not.  What it does mean is teach your child some basic warm and cool down stretches as part of their sports and activities.  Proper dynamic (in motion) stretching before movement, and static stretching after movement is completed.

While touching your toes is not an Olympic event unto itself, practicing flexibility movements does reduce injuries and is part of a healthy lifestyle.  Take a few minutes with your students, children, and athletes to work on their stretches in good form.  It’s the habits we instill in them now that change our next generation.

 

Matt Peale has seen his fair share of kids have the flexibility of a 70 year old as an NASM Certified Personal Trainer.  Contact him at mpeale@ltmacademy.com and check out Learn To Move Academy for your school and sports organization.