Elementary School Leaders’ Perspectives on Providing Movement Opportunities to the Students They Serve



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Childhood obesity remains a serious problem in the United States. One way to combat this growing trend— in addition to providing other health and academic-related benefits—is to increase childrens’ physical activity. Seven principals from suburban school districts in the east coast region who have either created or who actively champion additional daily movement for their students were interviewed and discussed, among other things, barriers to providing movement, how to overcome those barriers, how to best utilize stakeholders, and the movement opportunity discrepancies between economically disadvantaged students and their economically advantaged peers. Participants identified barriers such as a lack of time, a lack of physical resources, teacher mindset, and general teacher reticence. They overcame these barriers with creative, flexible approaches that sought to unite the entire school in one vision. By accessing facilitator passions and forming political relationships, stakeholders were utilized most efficiently toward these ends. And participants agreed that movement opportunities for economically disadvantaged students are not as common as they are for economically advantaged peers due to a lack of transportation, a lack of experience, and financial concerns. Future research in this field should study leader mindset related to movement opportunities and should investigate the relationship between being an effective Movement Champion in the elementary setting and coming from either a physical education background or participating in competitive sports.