Nationwide Campaign Invites Parents to Join Kids in PE Class to Demonstrate Value of Physical Learning

Claire Jensen
[email protected]

Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 23, 2019  – This week K-12 schools across the country will host Take Your Parent to PE Week, where parents, relatives and caregivers will be welcomed to join their child in physical education class. Now in its third year, the campaign was created by Active Schools with the goal of raising awareness for the important role physical education (PE) plays in student learning.

“At Active Schools, we know that physical learning plays a vital role in the overall development of kids,” said Charlene Burgeson, Executive Director of Active Schools. “Studies show the link between movement and improved brain function, but when competing priorities come into play, it is often the physical aspect of education that gets deprioritized.”

Take Your Parent to PE Week is a fun, immersive way to introduce parents to the physical education program and teachers at their child’s school. The weeklong, national campaign encourages PE teachers to invite parents to join class with the goal of inspiring families to be physically active together at home and in the community.

“Physical education is the first step in becoming a physically literate individual,” said William Potter, PE teacher and Take Your Parent to PE Week participant from Serendipity School in Belmont, California. “Physical education can be a spark of joy in a student’s life, and a quality physical education program can get students on the path to a lifetime love of movement and health.”

In The Movement Disparity: Parent and Principal Perspectives on Physical Activity in Schools, two nationally representative surveys of parents and principals on physical education and physical activity in schools across the United States in 2018-19, Active Schools worked with NORC at the University of Chicago to gain a better understanding of the ways in which schools are, or are not, promoting childhood health and well-being. The survey results show that while most parents and principals have positive attitudes about the importance and benefits of physical activity at school, their behaviors do not always reflect those beliefs. Key findings include:

  • 94 percent of parents said that it is important, very important or extremely important for their child to have access to physical education.

  • 81 percent of parents and 93 percent of principals believe that children and adolescents who are physically active are better learners.

  • 85 percent of parents said that it is important, very important or extremely important that their child’s school is an active school, yet only 39 percent reported communicating with their child’s principal about it.

  • Principals provided a different account regarding parent communication with only 12 percent reporting that parents communicated with them about student physical activity.

Take Your Parent to PE Week aims to rectify that disparity. Participating parents will attend class and join in activities that demonstrate the fun and educational activities that take place during PE and highlight the important role of PE teachers in schools across the country.

“Last year, I left Take Your Parent to PE Week with a sense of accomplishment and greater appreciation for the importance of the skills and activities my kids are doing in PE class,” said Lisa Vatnsdal, parent to Aubrey, a fifth-grader at Solheim Elementary in Bismarck, North Dakota. “I so often asked my kids what they did in math, science or geography, but now I ask what they did in PE as well. I look forward to participating again this year!”

Participants are encouraged to share the fun across social media channels using the hashtag #ParentsLovePE more than 1000 schools are registered to participate, but more are anticipated as registration is not mandatory.

 “We’re thrilled to see so many schools participating in Take Your Parent to PE Week! Active Schools developed this campaign three years ago because we know that active kids do better and we want to shine a spotlight on how physical activity is being taught in schools across the country,” added Burgeson. “Physical education helps students feel better, work together as a team, reduce anxiety, maintain focus in the classroom and develop lifelong healthy habits.”

Take Your Parent to PE is the signature campaign of Active Schools, a collective impact movement that brings together health- and activity- focused organizations from Fortune 500 companies to small nonprofits. Together with these partners, Active Schools gives schools access to resources like programs, trainings and grants to help enrich PE and classroom curricula, as well as other before- and after-school programs, with the 60 minutes of physical activity all students need every day. As champions for daily school-based physical activity, Active Schools helps parents, educators and decision-makers improve academic outcomes and inspire lifelong healthy habits, ultimately aiming to revolutionize how schools incorporate activity into student learning.

To learn more, visit

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