Another major area of disagreement among physical- education professionals is the question of what constitutes the best model for elementary physical education.
The debate here is between advocates of the movement- education model and those who want a more traditional, broadly based physical-education program.
This debate is typically conducted within the profession, with lay persons not usually aware of the heated differences of opinion that can surround such issues.
Nearly every professional agrees that physical education for young children should not consist of highly specific skill practice and competitive games; that is, it should be a real physical education for children rather than a watered-down version of varsity sports.
However, should it be fitness, skills, and games made developmentally appropriate to children, or should it be something entirely different, such as the kind of curriculum advocated by movement educators? This is where the debate is joined.
The movement educators see traditional elementary physical-education curricula as too competitive, to oriented toward specific skill development, lacking in creativity, and potentially damaging to the child’s developing self-concept. They advocate an approach that is more aesthetically oriented, focusing on a child’s individual talents, with a more creative approach to teaching.
The traditionalist sees movement education, as too “fluffy” it does not lead to anything, it is difficult to teach, and it has no clear outcomes.
They argue that children can learn sports skills, participate in fitness activities, and begin to experience the dynamics of group activities in developmentally appropriate ways, leading up to the time when sport and fitness will be the main focus on the curriculum.
This kind of professional debate is not “won” in any real sense of settling the issue. Most elementary physical- education specialists are free to develop their own programs, choosing between these alternatives and often using some from each to build their own unique approach.