Student Health and Wellness 

Physical Activity

Physically active students are better learners. Physical activity has been proven to increase students’ academic performance, attendance and positive behavior.  The Office of Student Health and Wellness recommends 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and encourages schools to achieve this guideline by developing Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP). The CPSAP includes physical education, physical activity during the school day (including recess and physical activity in the classroom), before and after school physical activity programs, parent and community engagement and staff involvement.

Physical Education

The Office of Student Health and Wellness supports students in gaining knowledge, skills and confidence for academic success and lifelong health. The CPS Physical Education Policy requires that all students in grades K-12 receive daily physical education (or the equivalent of 150 minutes per week at the elementary level). This policy also sets standards for high quality physical education programs for the district.

Typically, Pre-K students do not have a physical education teacher.  Pre-K teachers should lead at least 10 minutes of physical activity each day to help students learn and practice age-appropriate movement skills.

What are the Benefits of Physical Education?
Research shows that students receiving high quality physical education:

  • Improved Brain Function: Physically active students scored higher in reading comprehension with just 20 minutes of physical activity.
  • Improved Test Scores: Active students scored higher on standardized tests.
  • Improved Behavior: Disciplinary action among students and suspensions decreased by 50-60% when PE is offered for 5 days per week.
  • Improved Health: Regular physical activity led to better health, fewer diseases and improved mental health.

For more information, download The Movement Movement CPS PE Strategic Plan.


The Office of Student Health and Wellness requires all elementary and middle schools have to provide students with at least 20 minutes of supervised, weather-appropriate daily recess. Recess gives students the opportunity to be physically active and practice social skills. Similar to recess, Pre-K classrooms need to offer at least 30 minutes per day of free play, either indoors or outdoors.

What are the Benefits of Recess?
A recent report from the National Association of Sport and Physical Education has shown that organized, purposeful recess can have the following beneficial effects on students:

Physical: Recess increases students’ physical activity time, which leads to improved health and physical fitness and helps prevent childhood obesity.
Social: Recess allows children to learn and practice important social skills like sharing, communicating, cooperating, problem solving, conflict resolution and respecting rules and order.
Emotional: Playing at recess reduces anxiety and aids in stress management. It also builds self-esteem and promotes relaxation between classes.
Cognitive: Physical activity enhances cognitive development. Recess provides children with a necessary break from the classroom experience so they can concentrate in class.

The Office of Student Health and Wellness provides schools with Recess Weather Guidelines to help decide if recess will be held outdoors or indoors. You can help prepare your child for a fun and safe recess by making sure they are dressed appropriately for the day’s weather (sunscreen is recommended for outdoor recess). Download the recess weather guidelines here: English | Spanish

Want to volunteer as a recess supervisor at your child’s school? Contact your child’s school about volunteer procedures. Contact OSHW at for more information about recess supervisor training.


Page Last Modified on Monday, September 16, 2019