Elementary Physical Education in the United States

Authored by: Melissa Parker , Kevin Patton

Routledge Handbook of Primary Physical Education

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138682344
eBook ISBN: 9781315545257
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315545257-21

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Abstract

Physical education was established in United States elementary schools 2 in the early 20th century. Though originally taught by generalists or itinerant teachers with a watered-down secondary curriculum, by the beginning of the 21st century elementary physical education had emerged with its own curriculum and pedagogically appropriate practices for children. The commonly accepted purpose of contemporary physical education in the United States, both at the elementary and secondary levels, is the development of physically literate individuals who have the “motor skills, knowledge and behaviours of active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence” (SHAPE, 2016: 6). As such, physical education is considered an essential part of the school curriculum and is based on a planned, sequential, standards-based program with written curricula and appropriate instruction.

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