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Walking forum report shows need to expand physical activity in schools
Date:9/30/2008

class, and to try to create a healthy environment for the children during school and after school across the curriculum," said Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko (VOY-tek HODGE-koh-zye-koh), the head of the kinesiology and community health department and a co-author of the roundtable report.

Chodzko-Zajko said the concept of integrating topics across the curriculum is not necessarily a new pedagogical idea.

"It's very common, especially at the elementary level. So, if there's a major theme occurring elections, or some big national event it's not unusual for elementary schools to integrate that across the curriculum, in math, geography, social sciences. The idea here is that concepts not only in physical activity, but concepts in wellness, need to be integrated.

"If you talk to the pedagogy people, they say two things: Kids need physical education, where they learn motor skills and activities that are going to set them up to develop the competencies they need to be physically active. But they also need to know how to be regularly physically active.

"So there's a double mission. The school has a responsibility to educate them in motor skills but also provide students with an opportunity to be active."

And, Chodzko-Zajko said, "many schools are failing in both regards, without question."

He noted that while schools are federally mandated to have wellness plans, many including those within walking distance of the site of the 2005 walking conference don't employ teachers trained specifically in physical education.

"That's amazing, really, when you think of it," he said.

On a more positive note, U. of I. kinesiology professor Amelia Woods, another co-author of the "We Move the Kids" report who has worked one on one with teachers in Champaign, Ill., elementary schools, said "there are some really innovative physical educators in this community."

Woods, who is the author of the book "Interdisciplinary Te
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Contact: Melissa Mitchell
melissa@illinois.edu
217-333-5491
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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