CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A survey of physical education classes in New Hampshire schools shows that students in kindergarten through fourth grade received at least 30 minutes of activity each week, and more than half of middle school students received at least 90 minutes per week.
Schools offer before- and after-school physical activity programs, daily recess, or teachers provide physical activity breaks in the classroom.
The survey released last week by the state Health Department in partnership with the state Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance says all of New Hampshire elementary schools surveyed offered daily recess, and in 77 percent of elementary schools, at least some classroom teachers offered breaks for physical activity.
The survey noted, however, that no New Hampshire public school teaching grades 1-4 meets guidelines from SHAPE America - the Society of Health and Physical Educators - for a recommended 150 minutes of physical education each week. Few in grades 6-8 meet the SHAPE America-recommended 225 minutes of physical education each week. The survey noted the biggest challenge was having limited time in schools to add more physical education or activity.
Responses came from 208 teachers representing 48 percent of all public schools in the state.
Some schools have come up with innovative ways to fit physical fitness into the day. For example, James Mastricola Elementary School in the Merrimack School District provides a before-school walking-running program for students in grades K-4 each year.
One teacher at Danville Elementary School in the Timberlane Regional School District has a “Math Line Tag” activity for second-graders that challenges them to answer math facts to stay in the game. Coe-Brown Northwood Academy has a Wednesday Workout day devoted to a simulated fitness club or “boot camp”-type activities.
Concord High School provides an optional 90-minute yoga class for about 200 students and a self-defense class for women. Other schools incorporate Quidditch-type activities from the “Harry Potter” book series.
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