Comprehensive Health and Physical Education

The Comprehensive Health and Physical Education content area of the Colorado Academic Standards contain standards that address Physical and Personal Wellness, Emotional and Social Wellness, and Prevention and Risk Management in the context of both health education and physical education. The physical education section also addresses Movement Competence and Understanding. This section provides a broad overview of the requirements for children in kindergarten through third grade, and explains how the content in these Guidelines at earlier ages prepare children for meeting these standards in their formal schooling.

Movement Competence and Understanding

The first standard in the Comprehensive Health and Physical Education content area is related only to physical education. This standard focuses on children’s development of motor skills and their ability to accurately move in patterns during a variety of routines, games, and activities. In preparation for these skills in grades K–3, toddlers and preschoolers build the large and small muscles of their body, gaining strength and control. The Guidelines for children ages 3–5 years address these skills in the sub-domains of Gross Motor and Fine Motor Skills within the Physical Development and Health domain. Kindergartners further develop these motor skills by maintaining awareness of their bodies and the space around them as they move safely during a variety of activities. In first grade, children incorporate rhythmic and cross-lateral movements, and by third grade, children may combine movement patterns as they demonstrate growing control and balance.

Physical and Personal Wellness

The second standard addresses healthy eating, exercise habits, and preventing disease. The Guidelines for children ages 3–5 years focus on children maintaining healthy growth by getting rest and exercise and learning to perform personal care tasks. These preschool skills are found primarily in the domains of Physical Development and Health: Physical Health Status and Health Knowledge & Practice. In kindergarten and first grade, students expand their understanding of physical wellness to include how their body system and parts react to and benefit from exercise. As children age, this knowledge becomes more useful and expands. Children in second grade use their growing knowledge about physical and personal wellness to make healthy choices. Their perception of themselves as being capable of successfully making healthy choices received support in the preschool Social and Emotional Development domain. Third graders identify the benefits of sustained physical activity and gain a greater understanding about the composition of the human body.

Emotional and Social Wellness

The third standard includes content related to children’s mental, emotional, and social health. Precursor skills in the Guidelines for children ages 3–5 years are found in the Social and Emotional Development and Approaches to Learning domains of these Guidelines. As described in those sections, preschool children are learning many foundational emotional and social skills that they need to support their learning in school, including the ability to build social relationships, regulate their behavior and emotions, develop a healthy self-concept, and exhibit emotional and behavioral health. These skills continue to be critical to students in kindergarten through third grade, as research findings have linked social-emotional learning to a variety of positive outcomes and benefits. The Emotional and Social Wellness standards ensure that kindergarten students demonstrate respect for self and others and follow directions. First grade students grow in their ability to effectively work with others, including following the rules of an activity. In second and third grade, children continue working on social skills so that they may demonstrate positive and helpful behaviors and language toward other students in class.

Prevention and Risk Management

The final standard focuses on children’s understanding of rules that keep them safe from harmful situations and dangerous substances or materials. The basis for these skills is found in the Guidelines for ages 3–5 years in the subdomain of Health Knowledge & Practice within the Physical Development & Health domain. The Guidelines describe children’s knowledge about basic health and safety rules and their ability to respond appropriately to harmful or unsafe situations. Children ages 3–5 years also develop skills described in the Social and Emotional Development domain, such as their ability to handle impulses, which will later support students’ ability to make positive choices concerning their health. Children in grades K–3 learn safe participation in games and sports and about applying rules, procedures, and safe practices in the classroom and at home.