The great thing about adapting any physical education program to be more inclusive, active and fun is that all you need is to shift focus from sports to fitness. A sport-centric physical education program is normally designed to give students a very specific set of skills, gained by following a very specific set of rules, so that they can play a very specific sport with a very specific number of people. The downside to a sport-centric program, especially at the elementary school level, is that it prioritizes rules over activity. At pegames.org we believe that a happy child is an active child, and to be active that child needs to be kept moving. Throwing, catching, dribbling, passing, ducking, dodging, running and stopping are all skills that can be taught through games and adapted to specific sports once they’ve been mastered. Picture the 2-5 kids during a sport-centric basketball, hockey or football unit who are able to dominate play when it comes to game time. During the cumulative activity to this sport-centric program, the “Real” game is typically played regardless of how many students are active. Now picture the same unit with a fitness-centric approach, one where all of the same skills have been taught through games. In this approach most kids are moving for most of the time. They are practicing all of the same skills, but they are not building up to a final game where the vast majority will not have the opportunity to utilize the skills they have been practicing. By focusing on fun, fitness and success, kids will be more likely to take the skills they learn and apply them to sport. Not only that, but kids will feel more comfortable competing in sports if they feel like they have a handle on the fundamentals essential to compete in all sports.

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