Health & Physical Education
The health and physical education program in the West Chester Area School District is designed to motivate, and encourage active participation in developing life skills for optimal mental, social and physical health. The health and physical education programs at all levels: elementary, middle school and high school, are based on Pennsylvania State Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education.
Students receive age- appropriate information about concepts of health including growth and development, body systems, nutrition, disease prevention and substance abuse. Healthful living and safety and injury prevention are also covered during the elementary years. Classroom and Special Subject teachers deliver this content.
Middle School health focuses on life skills such as self-image and self-improvement, decision making, communication, substance use and abuse, the role of media and advertising, managing anger, anxiety and stress and social skill development. Students continue learning more about human anatomy and physiology to further understanding of body system interdependence and making healthy choices for optimal living.
This final level is designed to motivate students to actively integrate health information and knowledge with interpersonal and social skills to exhibit healthy attitudes and behaviors. Emphasis is placed on using knowledge to promote individual, family and community health through disease prevention. In addition, other key elements of health promotion in 10th grade include: coping strategies, managing overall health issues, substance abuse, refusal skills/risk reduction, sexuality and relationships, and health literacy to actively engage and participate in making decisions that lead to total present and future well-being.
An important goal of the elementary physical education program is for students to work toward and attain skill proficiency and knowledge in order to foster personal health, safety, fitness, and social development. A sequential, differentiated approach is used for students to develop skills and experience success and enjoyment through a variety of movement forms. Activities include: locomotor and non-locomotor movements, manipulative skills, problem solving and cooperative challenges, small/large group games, and fitness-related and rhythmic skills.
Through exposure to a wide variety of activities, students gain essential knowledge to understand the importance of and make educated decisions around opportunities to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Students experience an increasingly complex application of strategic movement and manipulation of equipment. Social skills introduced at the elementary level are reinforced in the middle school program and include but are not limited to: respect, cooperation, communication, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Physical fitness is emphasized and the adventure education program includes indoor rock climbing.
The subjects of health and physical education are combined into one course whose objective is to integrate classroom information with activities experienced in the physical education setting. This course provides the opportunity for students to develop optimal levels of physical fitness as well as an understanding of the application of fitness concepts for personal improvement. Students use heart rate monitors for the assessment of exercise intensity in order to achieve fitness goals as determined by their personal fitness program. In addition to the focus on fitness, other key elements of wellness include: nutrition, disease prevention, stress management, substance abuse and health-related decision making.
The physical education program at this level focuses on skills and knowledge needed for successful participation in leisure activities after high school and to reinforce the desire to retain the healthy feeling associated with fitness and exercise. Course content includes units in golf, base running activities, invasion games, recreational activities, archery, aerobic dance and movement, strength training, personal fitness and conditioning, indoor/outdoor net and wall games, yoga and indoor climbing. In addition, a course in Advanced Physical Education is offered to upperclassmen who have a strong interest in exploring a variety of topics in individual and team sport not covered in the traditional high school physical education program.
ADAPTED PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Specially designed instruction plans in physical education at all grade levels are developed and administered by an Adapted Physical Education Specialist for students who require accommodation.
Paul Joyce, Ed.D.
Supervisor of Science, Health and Physical Education, Family and Consumer Science, and Technology Education