Valerie Strauss, education writer and blogger for The Washington Post, recently presented an article titled “Physical Education Should be a Core Subject: Institute of Medicine” about the dire circumstances in which we as a nation find ourselves regarding physical education. She cites an Institute of Medicine report that finds that since 2001, “Nearly half (44 percent) of school administrators report cutting significant amounts of time from physical education, arts, and recess to increase time in reading and mathematics. These challenges have been cited as the reasons why the percentage of schools offering physical education daily or at least 3 days each week declined dramatically in U.S. schools between 2000 and 2006.”
If schools aren’t providing physical education, summer camps become that much more important for childhood development
Authors of the report contend that only half of the nation’s youth are meeting current guidelines for daily physical activity. The consequences are imminent and dangerous: “Recent studies have found that in terms of mortality, the global population health burden of physical inactivity approaches that of cigarette smoking and obesity.” If kids are no longer getting their physical education at school, it’s all the more imperative that summer camps provide them with their outlet for physical activity. Summer camps offer healthy doses of vitamin D and serotonin (with equal parts sunscreen of course), and with a balance of educational enrichment and structure, allow them to run free as children are meant to do.
Summer camps promote physical activities as a core part of their programs
Most summer camps, including academic or specialized camps, offer physical activity as a core program component. This is because camps know what most of today’s policy-makers are failing to realize – that kids learn and grow best when movement is integrated into their curriculum. Even academic programs like technology camps offer times for outdoor recreation. So no matter what your child is interested in, summer camp can serve to not only fill those 90 days of glory with an enriching experience, but also to provide the physical activity that your child needs (which, consequently, keeps them from bouncing off the walls of your home).
Physical activities, just like summer camps and their campers, come in a variety of shapes and sizes
Strauss outlines a normal regimen for a healthy child: at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, including 30 minutes of physical education for elementary school students and 45 minutes for middle and high school students. At summer camp, this can look like a break spent on the swing set, launching off of the diving board, an endless array of sports, or even a stroll around the grounds with a camp mate. Summer camps have always been a traditional staple of childhood with budding friendships, adventures, gross bugs and new discoveries. But if kids can’t get there wiggles out at school anymore, summer camps are becoming ever more critical to kids’ healthy development.
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