My dad, Hercules Callanta, who himself is an educator just reposted an article that I wrote for Men’s Health Philippines back in July about the current state of Physical Education in our country. When I wrote this back then, I didn’t know that I would be later invited to the physical education symposium of CHED (Commission on Higher Education). Well I really didn’t know because I just found out I was invited, on the day of the symposium (my e-vite went straight to the spam folder, wow).
Now, an article was posted on ABS-CBN news with the headline: “Diseases may be contracted in P.E classes”. It’s really more of an advertorial for a brand of body soap but the misleading title may do some harm to the already fragile state of our PE system.
I have not been updated yet as to what happened during the CHED symposium, however I’m more interested on what Department of Education has planned. Like I said in my article, our kids aren’t getting enough physical activity in schools with the limited allotment for PE in the schedule. The common argument against PE is that it is not as important as the other “core subjects” of Math, Science, etc. To that my response can be found in the opening paragraphs of my article:
Mens sana in corpore sano. A sound mind in a sound body—a phrase widely used to depict what most agree to be an ideal human being. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it best: Health is not only the absence of disease or infirmity, but the state of mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
Physical health is an important part of what makes us effective human beings. But if that’s the case, then why is Physical Education not getting as much attention in our child’s development?”
Read the rest of the article here.
Currently, we are still in the same system here in Manila. PE is still just an after thought for most schools, another reason being lack of funds. However we must realise the importance of getting our children moving and active especially in this age where technology is so accessible to everyone, including kids. A balance must be struck in our children’s activities. It’s unrealistic and impractical to completely shut out our kids from modern technology but a certain balance must be met and kept to help them develop into balanced individuals. PE is an integral part of this and it shouldn’t be an after thought.
So as parents what can we do? A lot really. We can take a stand and encourage schools to spend more time on physical activity. It doesn’t even have to be all restricted into a PE class. A good PE program will have kids active most of the day, not just for PE. We can also encourage our children to move more by being good examples. Take them out for a walk, swim with them, play with them more and put down that phone when you do. I’ve seen how this has affected my daughter. The quality of time we have together increases whenever she sees me put my phone down. Which I should really do more often. We can also organise more play dates with friends and groups.
In the end of the day, the message has to be clear to our children. Active play is fun, we should do more of it. And by doing it, we move closer to a fitter future and farther from the one we saw in Wall-E. Our children don’t need to be elite athletes to be healthy. They don’t need to be pressured into sports at an early age, but if they do sports, the message has to be the same: have fun. If we do this correctly we set our children up to be fit and healthy citizens in the future.