Georgia students will spend more time in P.E. class - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia students will spend more time in P.E. class

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February 23, 2006

Valdosta - It’s not your typical P.E. class. Instead of playing kickball or running around the track, these kindergartners at Parker Mathis Elementary are having fun with step aerobics. "We do warm up, work out, cool down, and teach them about getting the heart pumping and the blood going," said Renee Califf, P.E. Teacher.

For many of these students, its their favorite class. "It’s fun and we get to run around," said Zara Wilson. "You get to go outside and play," said Alton Woodard.

And now thanks to Georgia lawmakers, they’ll get to spend a little more time here. The Senate passed a bill that will increase the number of minutes students must spend in physical education class from 90 to 150. "I think there will be overwhelming benefits for the children," said Califf.

P.E. Teacher Renee Califf welcomes the extra time with her students, and thinks it’s especially important now, with rate of childhood obesity rising every year. "They just came out with a report in Georgia that over 43 percent of our third graders are overweight or obese, that’s one in four third graders," said Califf.

While some may think it takes away from important core subjects, she says teaching them about their health is one of the most important things they learn in school. "I think it instills in them to be active and if they have a good experience in elementary school with physical education, its going to carry over," said Califf.

And the lessons learned here will stick with them as they grow into healthy adults.

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