Physical Education and Health » Overview


Physical education provides students with a planned, sequential, K-12 standards-based program of curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge and behaviors for active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy and emotional intelligence.

During physical education, students practice the knowledge and skills they learn through physical activity, which is defined as any bodily movement that results in energy expenditure. Students also engage in exercise — any physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive — for the purpose of improving or maintaining one or more components of fitness (CDC, 2013, p. 8).

Physical education develops the physically literate individual through deliberate practice of well-designed learning tasks that allow for skill acquisition in an instructional climate focused on mastery (SHAPE America, 2014, p. 10).

Physical education addresses the three domains of learning: cognitive or mental skills related to the knowledge of movement; affective, which addresses growth in feelings or attitudes; and psychomotor, which relates to the manual or physical skills related to movement literacy (SHAPE America, 2014, p. 4).

School-based health education helps adolescents acquire functional health knowledge, and

strengthens attitudes, beliefs, and practice skills needed to adopt and maintain healthy

behaviors throughout their lives.

Health education provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice healthy behaviors and teaches students how to recognize the influence of responsible decision-making on quality of life.

It is the belief of the Cranston School Department that physical education and health programs play a vital role in fostering a healthy physical, mental and social individual. 


Curriculum Rationale/Overview

Physical Education contributes to the total growth and development of the individual, i.e. physical, 

intellectual, social and emotional.  Furthermore, student development in the psychomotor, 

cognitive and affective domains may be positively affected by quality physical education programs.


According to Healthy People 2010, Physical activity and fitness

Report from the Surgeon General, “Young people are at particular risk for becoming 

sedentary as they grow older.  Therefore, encouraging moderate and vigorous physical 

activity among youth is important.  Because children spend most of their time in school, 

the type and amount of physical activity encouraged in schools are important 

components of a fitness program and a healthy lifestyle.”


Physical Education frequently has been misunderstood and misrepresented and it is important to 

identify what Physical Education is not. Recess is not the same as Physical Education.  After school 

and community sports programs do not substitute for Physical Education.  And, even though 

physical fitness is an important component of Physical Education Programs, these programs must 

accomplish more for students than the development and maintenance of physical fitness.


Like all curricula, Physical Education programs derive their learning and performance outcomes from identifiable subject matter. This subject matter for Physical Education begins with various kinds of exercises, games, sports, and dances that students will perform.  Like music, art, and theatre, Physical Education is first and foremost a performance based subject which requires students to experience directly, as performers, its subject matter.  The subject matter for Physical Education also includes knowledge about such personal performances and the performances of others in various forms of physical activity.  Thus, the subject matter for Physical Education involves personal performance skills and knowledge about this performance.  They know how to not only do selected exercises, games, sports, and dances, but also they have gained an enhanced understanding of their performances and, indeed, of themselves because of their years of experience in these programs.


A quality program provides a variety of active, enjoyable, and safe ways for students to learn.  It accommodates a variety of learning and performance abilities, and, where possible, it offers individualized instruction for students.  There are planned instructional progressions, both within and across grade levels in such programs.  A quality Physical Education program includes regular assessments of student learning and performance, and the data are used to enhance student’s development and to make program revisions.


The quality of physical education programs in the Cranston Public Schools, as in all school districts, must rest with each of our individual instructors. Commitment to a quality physical education program must begin at the grassroots level, within each individual class, and must extend beyond the individual school to the central administration.  At the administrative level, that commitment addresses the issues of adequate funding, staffing, and class size.    


Our belief is that our young children should be provided a curriculum that varies the learning experiences to meet the needs of each student and builds upon their desire to move, be active, and participate meaningfully with their peers.  We believe that their participation and activity are necessary components of physical and social health.  We believe that our philosophy of an effective program enables a level of teaching and learning that affects the attitudes, beliefs, and health of our most important residents of Cranston - our children.


For Physical Education Program


Cranston Public Schools will graduate a physically educated person who:

  • has learned skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities;

  • is physically fit;

  • participates regularly in physical activities;

  • knows the implications of and the benefits from involvement in physical activities;

  • values physical activity and its contribution to a healthful lifestyle.



Of Physical Education Program

The mission of the Cranston Public Schools’ physical education program is to engage all

students in learning experiences that will promote a lifelong commitment to a dynamic, 

productive and healthful lifestyle.