Physical Education Beyond School

La Sierra Physical Education

Over the past few days, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been filled with comments about the video below. If you haven’t seen it before, you’ll find an overview about the former physical education program that existed at the La Sierra High School in California. Those familiar with this site may also recall a previous entry that discussed the same 1960’s program (see here). In that original entry, there were even a few former La Sierra students who shared their thoughts and experiences with the program.

La Sierra Physical Education

Upon watching the video, there is no denying that La Sierra had an impressive physical education program. With that said, my reaction to the video is different from much of what I’ve observed through social media. Most of the comments that I’ve seen included praise for La Sierra, along with knocks against our nation’s lack of physical education. I don’t argue either of those opinions, but I believe there is more to the story.

As a realist, I doubt that we will ever see La Sierra’s former program implemented throughout the nation. I don’t say this to suggest that physical education shouldn’t receive more attention. I just don’t see it happening on a widespread basis. There are too many roadblocks that exist throughout much of the country. Many school systems are already struggling to meet academic standards while operating under restricted budgets. Hence, as much as I’d love to see widespread change, I wouldn’t anticipate it happening any time soon.

Do It Yourself

Before you call me a pessimist, I’m not suggesting that we throw in the towel and give up on physical education. I’m actually 100 percent devoted to improving physical education. I’m just not going to sit around and wait for the school systems to improve. Thus, while I fully support change within our schools, I also realize my obligations as a parent. It is my job more than anyone’s to educate my children about living a healthy and active life. My kids may not have a La Sierra gym class, but they certainly know all about exercise and sport. I have promoted that lifestyle since the day they were born.

Unfortunately, many parents today seem to think it is everyone else’s responsibility to raise their children. These parents expect teachers to turn each child into an academic scholar, just as they expect coaches to turn each child into a champion athlete. Yet, when the kids return home from school or practice, they are plopped in front of a television or given mind-numbing electronic devices to play. Education and sport stop abruptly at the door.

Final Thoughts

As a parent, I want the best for my children. I certainly want them to learn at school, but I also understand my role in their development. Academics and physical education will always continue at home. Therefore, rather than wishing on a star for the La Sierra program to reemerge, I’ll use that time instead to go outside and play with my kids.

Thus, while it would be great to see more physical education in school, there’s no excuse for parents to drop the ball at home. If you care for your children, don’t rant about it in a Facebook comment. Much more will be accomplished by leaving your phone inside while you take your kids outside to play.¬† Not only will their physical fitness improve, you’ll both create memories that will last a lifetime. And best of all, it won’t cost you a dollar. The schools don’t need to pass a new budget for you to run around with your kids. You’ll just need to budget in a little extra time.

 

Additional information regarding a proposal to revive the La Sierra physical education program can be found at the link below:

La Sierra High PE Project

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“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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17 comments:

  1. PE is a joke these days and it’s not really safe to let the kids roam around the neighborhood alone like it was when we grew up. So, now it is even more imperative that the parents step in and not allow our children to become a generation of slugs. Teaching them to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors and exercising their bodies is absolutely essential. Plus it instills mental/physical discipline and gives parents a chance to talk to their kids without distractions. All good things.

  2. Really good piece, Ross. Very straight and to the point. Stuff like this is why I’ve been a longtime reader.

  3. Those guys were amazing. Everyone had 6 pack abs- Id say it would be a challenge to find a pe class today like that. Those guys looked like Spec ops cadets in the making.

    This footage just shows how far America has fallen- we had a guy like Kennedy as President now a Marxist sellout like Obama. You can look around the Internet and see footage of school kids in 50s vs. now. It’s not today’s kids fault- society has been socially engineered to fail them so thy will come up as a more malleable group for the elitist a one world government to control better- that’s why you have all the gmo food, fluoride in the water, giving regular little boys pills and saying their damaged with ADD just because they want to run around and play all the time-‘the whole thing is just crazy and not right.

    1. Ah.
      The 1950s. When men were men, boys were boys, and everything was AMAZING ALL THE TIME.
      Come on mate. Keep it real. You’re looking at clips from a single highschool with an exceptional PE program and using that as a launchpad for nostalgic tirade.

      Keep it real.

      Also, GMOs are safe, Fluoride in water is safe, and ADHD is a thing. Do your research please.

  4. Great read! Definitely agree. Teaching our kids to take care of their bodies, and to make fitness fun, and a part of their lives is one of our top priorities. Sometimes our kids are shocked when they have friends over who think it is too hard to walk a mile to go play on a playground… and it always reminds us just how easy life is made for most children. Unfortunately, bringing up kids to enjoy comfort in all aspects, and to expect convenience and easiness in everything isn’t doing our future society any favors! I hope other parents will embrace an active life- if not for themselves, at least for their kids!

  5. Ross
    You are a great resource and I am surprised to see that there as no mention of the actual project.
    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/la-sierra-high-pe
    that clip came from

    There is a cohort of physical culture coaches working to get this to he the standard again

    Someone stripped the coding and info for the project from the video, and made that viral.

    It would be greatly appreciated if you could mention the project, and maybe link to it.

    Attribution being the currency of respect.

  6. While I agree with your stance about personal responsibility, I do not agree with making commentary based off of a film trailer. If you knew the whole story about LaSierra and the awesome program Coach LeProtti built, you would know that the parents were involved in the program. They were so involved that they even had a training class for the students parents after school. That is why we are asking people to help us make this film. So that people can get the whole story and not just the 5 minute trailer. Please if you truly want change then as the author said make a difference and help us tell this story. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/la-sierra-high-pe#home

    1. I was sent a link to a five minute clip, so that’s what I shared.

      As far as commentary is concerned, I’m all for change, but I’m also realistic as far as what will happen throughout the nation. As a parent and coach, I’m not going to wait for the schools to change. Whatever hair I have left will be long gone before we see a nationwide school system with the funding necessary to implement such a program.

      In summary, it’s a great story, but there’s plenty of roadblocks (many financial) that will be difficult/timely to overcome. That’s why I’m not waiting. My kids have been active since day one. They don’t need to get their fitness at school. It’s already a significant part of their lives. Better parenting is what will lead to the greatest change, and it doesn’t cost anything to start.

  7. Great read, you’re correct about it being the responsibility of the parents to ensure the kids get a solid upbringing in health and fitness amongst others. To be honest I was a bit sceptical of the video, I’m sure that wasn’t a true representation of the whole class, perhaps the top performing few. I could be wrong of course, but I am sceptical.

  8. I found the video interesting. The project was/is a great idea. I am a science/PSHE teacher in a Mental Health hospital. I work with young people aged between 11-18 years old with acute mental health issues. I fully believe that if you have a healthy body you will have a healthy mind. I am not saying that exercise is the answer to all mental health issues. However, if one is active and can perform some type of physical activity on a daily basis, some of the issues that I see; stress, anxiety, low self esteem, lack of motivation/drive etc. May be avoided. And I am sure the same applies to the adult population to.
    I’ll get off my soap box now and leave the ranting to Ross!- Well Done

  9. The first comment is exactly what I thought. Outstanding reminder of personal responsibility.
    I know a lot of parents who give their all to raising their children, but I know more who don’t and it’s sad to see.

  10. Well done Ross! I completely agree with your thoughts here. Parents really should take time out of their day to spend quality time with their kids. This is great both for the kids and the parents, encouraging fitness, good memories and family bonding.

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