Time to get physical | AspenTimes.com

Time to get physical

Dear Editor:

I was glad to see an article discussing the current P.E. program in the Aspen public schools “Educators: Is P.E. all that it can be?” March 5). However, I thought it lacked certain content.

The article focused more on middle and high school, although the elementary school P.E. teacher was present for the discussion. Missing was more in depth information about elementary school P.E. and recess.

Currently, the elementary kids get one P.E. class every six school days ” not even once a week. Recess follows lunch, which means if the kids really hurry with eating (great) they get just over 20 minutes of that. Of course, one mustn’t forget the fact that if the kids don’t turn in their homework for the day (or otherwise step out of line), many teachers punish them by not letting them go out on recess at all. I personally think this punishment is criminally cruel ” not to mention its detrimental effect on a high-strung kid whose behavior might actually improve following a bit of fresh air.

Whose wouldn’t? (I won’t go into the debate about homework cutting into the time after school in which kids might have a chance to burn some calories and/or angst.)

We are talking about children, who can, for those who have lost touch with this reality, be roughly compared to puppies. Imagine having a puppy in your care, telling it to “stay” and “sit” and “be good” all day long. Once a day, you give it a big bowl of food, show it the open door and say, “Hurry and eat and you can go outside to run for 20 minutes on a full stomach.” (Only if it’s been especially good ” bad puppies stay inside all day long). Once every six business days, you let your puppy out in a very controlled environment for less than an hour. What would your vet say? Mine likely would tell me I’m not fit to have a puppy.

Do I need to go into our country’s obesity problem? You’ve all heard the news, right? The American people are obsessed with weight issues. It seems happiness, fame and fortune all are tied to this epidemic, yet I didn’t even get a response from last year’s middle school principal when I wrote to ask her if this lack of P.E. was being looked into. My middle schooler has yet to have a single day of P.E. this year.

Finally, I must say that P.E. needs to become something fun. We moved here a few years ago from a school in which P.E. was every day, and it was called “games.”

Kids didn’t even realize they were running around the whole time. My kids loved it. They don’t love it here. It sounds to me a lot like the P.E. of my school days, with a football coach for a teacher telling us all to run and if we were caught not running, we were made to do some other torture. Not exactly instilling a love of exercise for a healthy future.

I hope something is done soon. Three very formative years of my children’s lives already have been spent here.

Molly Brooke