California State Physical Education Standards

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will provide an overview of California state physical education standards. State standards at the elementary/middle and high school levels will be discussed.

Importance of Physical Education in Schools

Do you work out on a regular basis and consider personal fitness important? Proponents of physical education in schools will tell you that your life-long interest in fitness was likely developed early on and, quite possibly, in your elementary school gym classes.

In California, physical education is taken very seriously and is mandatory for students in elementary, middle, and high school. California law mandates 200 minutes of physical activity every ten day period for students in grades 1-6 and 400 minutes of physical activity every ten day period for students in grades 7-12. The impetus behind this law is that the earlier physical education is introduced and required, the more likely students will be to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle that will endure throughout their lives.

California State Physical Education Standards

In addition to the time requirement for physical activity in elementary, middle, and high schools, there are additional California state physical education standards that emphasize what California students should be able to demonstrate and learn from effective, physical education programming.

Elementary and Middle School Physical Education Programming

The California Physical Education Model Content Standards Development Committee came up with the following five standards for elementary and middle school physical education programs:

  1. Students should demonstrate motor and movement skills that allow them to participate in a wide range of physical activities.
  2. Students should demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, principles, and strategies related to movement that apply to learning and participating in various physical activities.
  3. Students maintain a healthy level of physical activity with the overall goal of achieving improved health.
  4. Students develop the knowledge of physical fitness strategies, principles, and concepts in order to maintain good physical health.
  5. Students utilize sociological and psychological principles and strategies that apply to performing and learning physical activities.

At the elementary school level, the five California state principles highlight a focus on how students move through space, how they work together with other students in movement activities, and how different objects can be manipulated through time and space while focusing on speed and accuracy. Examples of appropriate elementary level physical education activities can include:

  • Navigating a simple obstacle course without touching objects
  • Playing hopscotch, which helps teach balance
  • Jumping rope

At the middle school level, emphasis is placed on cooperative work and common goals. Teamwork, overcoming obstacles, and trying different alternatives are all concepts required to be incorporated in effective physical education programs that meet state standards. Appropriate activities for middle school may include playing a game of dodgeball or orchestrating a relay race, where everyone on the team has a stake in the outcome.

High School Physical Education Programming

The State of California also put into place three standards for high school physical education programs. These standards are:

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