In the Downey Unified School District, all our schools aim to provide students with the opportunity, support, and encouragement to be physically active regularly through physical education (PE) instruction and physical activity programs. This allows students to gain exposure to health and wellness through PE classes, which offers them benefits that can last far beyond childhood and for the rest of their lives.

In order to provide students with significant opportunities for health-focused lifestyles, PE begins for all students at the elementary level, and courses are taught by teachers who are specifically certified in physical education—an advantage that is not available in all districts in the area. The Downey Unified PE team consists of seven teachers and six Classified PE Assistants, all providing recess and lunch support to all sites (including our TK-3 sites) to support structured play.

In Downey Unified, all 4th and 5th grade students participate in PE twice a week for 50-minute blocks of time. Lessons are designed to follow the California State Physical Education K–12 Standards, promoting healthy habits and encouraging students to lead active lifestyles.

students playing volleyball

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students who regularly attend PE are two to three times more likely to be active outside of school and are nearly twice as likely to continue to take part in healthy physical activity into adulthood. By creating such habits that focus on movement and maintaining fitness levels, students are more likely to strengthen their bones and muscles, have a healthier weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower their risks of developing a variety of health conditions. These conditions include heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and obesity.

PE also offers students a number of additional benefits that aren’t related to physical health, such as the following:

  • Self-discipline — Students obtain valuable life skills, including setting specific goals and working toward those goals, while participating in both individual and group objectives in physical education courses.
  • Strengthened peer relationships — A variety of activities in PE programs are team-based, providing students with the opportunity to learn the importance of cooperation and working together to achieve common goals.
  • Improvements in behavior & academic achievement — Higher levels of physical activity can help students maintain better overall cognitive performance, grades, school attendance and classroom behaviors.
  • Better overall mental health — Participation in consistent physical activity has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-esteem, and decrease the likelihood of depression.
students stretching

Physical education provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for physical activity and physical fitness. Supporting our schools in establishing physical education daily ultimately helps our students develop the ability and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.

Join Us at the Carnival of Champions

As another way of promoting the importance of a physically active lifestyle, Downey Unified will be hosting its 58th Carnival of Champions district-wide competition on March 23, 2024. We invite you to join us and cheer on our elementary student-athletes at Warren High School starting at 8:00 am.