3. Instructional Focus in Health and Physical Education

Health Education

Topics emphasized as part of Health instruction, vary widely across grade levels.

Key Findings:

  • Grades K-4 instruction emphasizes safety, nutrition, character education and wellness.
  • Grades 5-6 instruction emphasizes character education, wellness, and nutrition continue to be emphasized along with increased focus on drug prevention, and social and emotional health.
  • Grades 7 & 8 instruction emphasizes drug prevention, sexuality, social and emotional health.
  • In high school, drug prevention and social and emotional health continue as a major content emphasis.
  • Sexuality and human relationships are also a primary focus of instruction in grades 9-12.
  • The majority of high schools (85%) provide instruction for Driver Education as part of Health instruction. (See Driver Education tab)

Table 3.1 Ranking of Content Topics Related to Amount of Health Education Instructional Time

Schools were asked to rank topics according to the amount of health education instructional time offered to each topic. Rankings in Table 3.1 represent the amount of times that the topic was ranked in the top five.

Note: The total valid number of responses vary for each grade level cluster. Since it is a multiple selection question, the total percentage is more than 100 for each grade level cluster.

Physical Education

Physical Education programs provide a wide range of activities across all grade levels, however there is an overwhelming emphasis on team sports.

A quality physical education program is standards based, highly active, instructional, developmentally and culturally appropriate, regularly assesses student progress and is taught by a certified physical education teacher.

It is the unique role of quality physical education programs to develop the health-related fitness, physical competence, and cognitive understanding about physical activity for all students so that they can adopt healthy and physically active lifestyles (NASPE).

Emphasis should not only be on team sports, but rather on lifetime activities such as biking, in-line skating, tennis, golf, and personal fitness.

Key Findings:

  • The overwhelming focus of instructional content in all grade levels is related to team sports and fitness.
    • Grades K-2 instruction emphasizes movement exploration, fitness, adventure and team sports.
    • Grades 3-4 instruction emphasizes team and individual sports, fitness and movement exploration.
    • Grades 5-6 instruction emphasizes fitness, team and individual sports, cooperative activities.
    • Grades 7 & 8 instruction emphasizes fitness, team and individual sports and adventure activities.
    • In high school, major content emphasis is individual and team sports.

Table 3.2 Ranking of Content Activities Related to Amount of Physical Education Instructional Time

Schools were asked to rank activities according to the amount of physical education instructional time offered to each activity. Rankings in Table 3.2 represent the amount of times that the activity was ranked in the top five.

Note: The total valid number of responses vary for each grade level cluster. Since it is a multiple selection question, the total percentage is more than 100 for each grade level cluster.





THE CALL TO ACTION

NJAHPERD continues to offer professional development opportunities to promote lifetime activities. Our partnerships and collaborations with BikeNY, BikeSChOOL, Project Adventure, The Education Company, The First Tee, NJDOE Coordinated School Health Demonstration Project and others have increased opportunities and resources that promote lifetime activities.

NJAHPERD is currently developing PreK-12 curriculum models in Health and Physical Education to be used as a resource for teachers and administrators.

NJAHPERD promotes a sequential PreK -12 curriculum in health education instruction aligned to state and national standards.

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