Physical Education

Elementary School Physical Education Requirements

Physical education (PE) is an important academic subject that teaches students to be physically active, work as a team, and set fitness goals that can last a lifetime. The fitness-based skills that students learn in PE is what emerging research shows is essential to learning. This document compiles key information about New York State (NYS) standards, guidelines, requirements, New York City’s (NYC) recommended curricula, and professional development opportunities.

Learning Standards and Guidance

Learning standards establish what students should know and be able to do at each grade level and provide the basis for meaningful assessments.

NYS learning standards for physical education are: 1) Personal Health and Fitness; 2) A Safe and Healthy Environment; and 3) Resource Management.

See the link to the NYS curriculum and instruction website on our PE requirements page.


Elementary School Instructional Time Requirements

NYS Education Law 803 requires instruction in PE in grades K-12. For details, go to the New York State website. Elementary school students must participate in PE throughout elementary school.

K-6 students must participate in PE for at least 120 minutes per week.

Grade K-3 shall participate on PE on daily basis.

Grades 4-6 shall participate in PE no less than three times per week. The minutes above are exclusive of time required for changing and dressing.

The size of PE classes in elementary school shall not exceed classroom size per the UFT Contract.

Curriculum Materials and Professional Development

All elementary PE teachers should incorporate a health-related fitness education curriculum that allows students to learn why activity is important and how it benefits them today and for a lifetime.

The recommended Physical Best curriculum is a comprehensive health-related fitness education program. All elementary schools are recommended to include the Move-to-Improve classroom based physical activity program to supplement a comprehensive PE program.

The NYC FITNESSGRAM assessment tool was designed for NYC students and teachers. It is used to assess student fitness levels and learning in PE. It is expected that all schools conduct this annual assessment for every eligible student. Parents or caregivers can review NYC FITNESSGRAM reports for their child online by setting up a NYC Schools Account.

Free Professional Development: NYCDOE teachers can register for free trainings using the Office of School Wellness Programs Professional Development catalog online.