Return to Headlines

Social and Emotional Learning is alive in Physical Education

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Physical Education

With the return of the most normal school schedule we have seen in the last two years there have been many challenges and obstacles that both students and teachers have faced. One of those challenges is how to best serve the social and emotional needs of students across the school day and beyond. Physical Education has longed been viewed as the addition to recess or with added advocacy and better teacher preparation over the last few years, physical education is now being viewed as not only an added bonus to the school day but an absolute necessity. Research has proven time and time again that students not only need to move to be healthy but the integration of movement through the day increases student achievement, emotional well-being while decreasing behavior problems and sensory issues. Furthermore, physical education has been proven as a pivotal place to help increase the support for student’s social and emotional needs.

Therefore when returning to the classroom full-time this year, one of the integral pieces of the Antioch Elementary physical education program is the incorporation of weekly social and emotional learning goals and objectives. This focus follows guidance from both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and SHAPE America (the national organization of Physical Education and Health).

In order to achieve this goal SHAPE America has created a curriculum that aligns directly with the National PE Standards and CASEL’s Core Competencies, which is the Social and Emotional Learning Framework followed by UCPS. In this alignment social and emotional learning has been integrated in a tiered approach starting with classroom climate. Weekly ice breakers and activities are used that challenge students to work together in partners and groups while problem solving, sharing ideas and accomplishing common goals. Additionally, students have had the opportunity to practice proper ways to communicate and cooperate with their classmates. Conflict resolution strategies have been implemented such as the use of rock, paper, and scissors to solve game disputes as well as the use of a calm corner modeled after the popular Pixar movie “Inside Out.”

With the incorporation of this tiered social and emotional framework students have shown significant growth in the demonstration of communication, cooperation and the ability to work together in a variety of situations. This has proved vital as we continue to face the many challenges of the global pandemic and the changes that have come to the educational system in America. Students need to build relationships, friendships and to build an emotional coping system to face these many challenges. By incorporating activities and supports during their physical education time students hopefully will continue to grow and be supported in one additional field of learning.