Physical Exertion in Early Childhood
The need for physical activity in the current generation has increased significantly. Especially with the technological advancement that has contributed to unhealthy eating habits and minimal or lack of physical activity amongst humans. Health-related diseases such as obesity and heart diseases have been very rampant since people tend to live unhealthy lives without taking physical exercise (Phillips & Silverman, 2015). To be specific, concerns about obesity in children have been raised as many children are increasingly developing obesity. Taking into consideration this issue, it was determined that children spend most of their time in school and therefore it was appropriate and important to establish an intervention strategy which is the implementation of physical education in elementary schools to ensure that students are provided with a solid foundation of physical activities at a young age (Phillips & Silverman, 2015). Establishing a mindset that physical exertion is good early on in childhood can set the stage for a healthy lifestyle.
A number of studies show that children have a positive attitude towards physical education. In fact, they view it as a relief from their tedious and tiresome school programs. However, the attitude towards physical tends to vary with gender as well as their grade level. In essence, according to Talbot (2017), there is not much difference between boys’ and girls’ attitudes towards physical education, rather there is a coinciding perspective which influences these two genders’ perspectives on physical education. It is identified that students’ interest in physical education tends to improve as time goes by though it depends on the varying aspects including experience obtained, skill level and the perceived relevance emphasis of physical education to later life (Vogel &Wanke, 2016). Therefore this study aims at investigating the factors influencing the attitudes of fourth graders that creates the difference between boys’ and girl’s attitude towards physical education so as to take into consideration when implementing a physical education in a school that will effectively contribute to healthy wellbeing, cognitive and mental development of the students.
What Does Physical Activity For Young Children Mean?
Seated activities such as watching television or playing computer games for hours and hours and restrictive movement in strollers are bad for the child’s development. These activities are not physical activities. It definitely does not include physical activities for adults such as exercising or going to the gym. For young children, physical activity means the opportunity to move around and play with other children.
Children tend to be more active when they are outdoors rather than when they are indoors. While they do seem to be engaged in various physical activities indoors as well, they are mostly light-intensity activities.
Why Do They Need To Be Active?
It is during early childhood that children are more willing to try new activities. Physical activities promote healthy growth and development. It helps build a healthier body composition, stronger bones and muscles. It also improves the child’s cardiovascular fitness. Physical activities help in the development of better motor skills and in concentration and thinking skills.
Physical activities should be integrated into young children’s lives to create a foundation of movement and activity which will be carried with them throughout the rest of their lives. Children who have higher levels of physical activity during their childhood are likely to be more active even after they mature. This is important for better health and well-being.
Physical activities from a young age have various benefits which reach far beyond only physical development. A child can physically, mentally, socially and emotionally develop by taking part in physical activities. The increasing use of technology and classrooms and daycares focusing on mental activities rather than physical activities have led to the reduction of children’s movement and physical activity.
A school or daycare which gives some time for physical activity as well would benefit the child. Increased movement and physical activity do create healthy habits and have numerous benefits for the child. It helps improve confidence, and self-esteem and also in developing healthier social, cognitive, and emotional skills. It also helps in building strength, self-confidence, concentration, and coordination from an early age.
Why Is Early Childhood Education Important?
Early childhood education is a term that refers to the period of time from a child’s birth to when they enter kindergarten, according to Dr Jessica Alvarado, academic program director for the BA in Early Childhood Development at National University. According to Alvarado, it is an important time in children’s lives because it is when they first learn how to interact with others, including peers, teachers and parents, and also begin to develop interests that will stay with them throughout their lives.
But Alvarado says it’s a common misperception that early childhood education is only about learning basic skills. “It’s so much more than that,” she says. “It’s a time when children learn critical social and emotional skills and a partnership is formed between the child, their parents and the teacher. When this is done successfully, it lays the groundwork for it to continue throughout the child’s education.”
Nations around the world are becoming aware of the importance of early childhood education as well. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is an international governing body whose mission is “to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, and intercultural dialogue through education.” Here’s what the organization says about the importance of early childhood education:
“Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. ECCE has the possibility to nurture caring, capable and responsible future citizens.”