Physical Activity

Physical Education: A Strategy of the Active Schools Minnesota Initiative

Minnesota mandates physical education in grades K-8 every year, and at least once in high school, and requires local districts to develop physical education curriculum and student assessments to meet the state standards. The state legislature adopted the National Standards for Physical Education as part of the Healthy Kids Bill in 2010. Every Minnesota district is required to adopt these standards, beginning the 2012-2013 school year. Minnesota requires certification or licensure for physical education teachers at the elementary, middle/junior high and high school levels and requires 125 continuing educational credits every five years for licensure renewal.

Physical education provides students the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to establish and maintain a physically active lifestyle through childhood and adolescence and into adulthood. Physical education can enhance students’ knowledge and skills about why and how to be physically active, increase participation in physical activity and increase fitness.

A newer approach to physical education is called “Enhanced Physical Education.” Enhanced Physical Education is characterized by a focus on increasing overall physical activity. It is characterized by the following components:

• Increasing the amount of time students spend in moderate-to-vigorous intensity during physical education class.

• Adding more physical education classes to the school curriculum.

• Lengthening the time of physical education class.

• Meeting physical activity needs of all students, including those with disabilities.

• Including activities that are enjoyable for students while emphasizing knowledge and skills that can be used for a lifetime.

Effective strategies for implementing Enhanced Physical Education include developing and implementing a well-designed physical education curriculum, enhancing instructional practices to provide substantial moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and providing teachers with appropriate training.

Professional development and technical assistance for physical education is available. Contact Mary Thissen-Milder, Active Schools Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Education, 651-582-8505.

Physical Education Resources

State of Minnesota Physical Education Standards and Model Benchmarks (Minnesota Department of Education website)

Physical Education Appropriate Instructional Practice Guidelines (National Association for Sport and Physical Education website)

Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (Centers for Disease Control Government website)

Presidential Youth Fitness Program (U.S. Government website)

Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (Minnesota Physical Education Organization website)

Making the Most of Physical Education video (Active Living Research website)

Shape of the Nation for Report 2012. Status of Physical Education in the USA (National Association for Sport and Physical Education website)