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PE lessons are failing our kids

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
22 May 2012

Kids’ natural tendencies towards sport are being squashed by repetitive, boring games lessons that fail to make PE fun.  According to research by Mission KIDS (kids in diverse sports) both children and parents believe that sports at school would be more popular if there was a wider variety to choose from.

[Related article: The most expensive kids' hobbies]

In the study, a mixture of parents and children were asked about their attitude towards sport and PE lessons. Nearly half of the children admitted that there had been a time they hadn’t wanted to go to a PE lesson. More than a third claimed this was because they didn’t like the sport being played. A further fifth said it was because the lessons were always the same.

Two thirds of the kids said they thought the reason to do sport was for fun, but unfortunately this isn’t translating into PE lessons, with only a quarter actually describing current lessons as ‘fun’. More than half said they would play more sport at school if the options were more exciting. Suggestions included Zumba, archery, Fencing and Street Dance.

The survey also found that schools were failing to successfully engage boys and girls differently. (Especially as we already know PE puts girls right off sport.) Introducing Zumba, for example, would encourage 54 per cent of children to play more sport at school. But crucially, it would encourage 61 per cent of girls, showing that the two sexes need different strategies and sports to encourage them to get involved and stay active through and beyond school.

[Related content: What do to when your child 'grows out' of his or her favourite sport]

Parents agreed that lack of variety is a problem. Half thought there was too much pressure on boys to be good at traditional sports such as football.

Olympian Colin Jackson has teamed up with Mission KIDS to inspire children to play more sport and help make sure they enjoy PE lessons.

He believes we need to increase the amount of time kids spend playing sports at school, giving teachers a better chance to introduce a wider variety.

“We need to give kids five hours of sport a week, an hour every day. If there was that time dedicated then you’ve got room for the diversity,” Colin suggests. He recommends giving kids something to aspire to and reminds parents that the foundations of a healthy, active life start at home so don’t rely on school PE lessons.

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