Technology has made physical activity in schools even easier and with more options with “PE Kansas.” This free, Kansas State Department of Education web-based K-12 physical education curriculum tool has seen overwhelming support from teachers all across the world.
Since launching in mid-January, nearly 5,400 users have accessed the online curriculum – including 1,161 from Kansas, along with individuals from each state and 38 countries across the world. Thirty Kansas communities have had 10 or more users, and about half of these communities are in rural parts of the state.
“The Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) saw the importance of quality physical education years ago and invested in the development of the Physical Essentials, Physical Focus, and Physical Dimensions curriculum. This resulted in a huge curriculum in both content and physical volume,” said Mark Thompson, KSDE project facilitator. “The most logical means of assuring universal access to the curriculum was to develop a website to house the content. Thus, PE Kansas was created.”
A team of educators and professionals reviewed the old curriculum, transforming physical education in Kansas in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, according to the website. From there, new activities and focuses were added, and the old content was either kept, removed, or modernized, and updated in a digital, drop-in lesson plan format that helps educators understand how to put together developmentally appropriate, standards-based lessons.
Through a variety of initiatives and nearly $2.2 million in funding, KHF has supported quality K-12 physical education curriculum, and inservice and university trainings for current and future educators. The existing grant, approved in 2013 , has made the web-based curriculum available to all K-12 school teachers.
“For years, we’ve viewed the school environment as a prime place to impact lifelong health and wellness for Kansas children,” said Steve Coen, KHF president and CEO. “Having the physical education curriculum available to anyone online is the culmination of years of work and effort on the part of many dedicated individuals, but it’s also the beginning of a new era of healthy teaching and activity in Kansas schools.”
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