BOB HOHLER'S "Boston's schools go lacking in phys-ed" highlights a significant local problem that fits a national trend -- that kids are getting far less physical activity than they need. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily participation in school physical education dropped 14 percentage points in the United States between 1991 and 2003.
However, there is at least one bright spot for physical fitness resources at Boston's public schools. Since 1995, the City of Boston, in partnership with a group of private funders, has been renovating schoolyards, transforming more than 70 of them to date from dangerous, unused asphalt lots to vibrant resources for active play and learning. Because of this public-private partnership, more than 25,000 Boston schoolchildren have safer places for recess and physical education, and neighborhoods have increased resources for before- and after-school programs, summer camps, and other activities. The Boston Schoolyard Initiative is breaking ground on five more schoolyard projects this summer.
We know that renovated schoolyards are not the full solution to the physical inactivity problem. But as we recognize and take on the challenges ahead, let's also celebrate the successes, and build on them.
Executive director Boston Schoolyard Funders Collaborative Boston