What Is PE? SHAPE America Essential Components

SHAPE America has defined the essential components of physical education.

Physical education is an academic subject and serves as the foundation of a CSPAP and, as such, demands the same education rigor as other core subjects. 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).

A well-designed physical education program:

  • Meets the needs of all students;
  • Keeps students active for most of physical education class time;
  • Teaches self-management;
  • Emphasizes knowledge and skills for a lifetime of physical activity; and
  • Is an enjoyable experience for all students (CDC, 2013, p. 12).
SHAPE America--Society of Health and Physical Educators is the professional membership association that serves as the national voice for 200,000+ health and physical educators around the nation.  SHAPE America sets the national standards for K-12 physical education and th grade-level outcomes for K-12 physical education.