Throughout their schooling life children either dread or can’t wait for PE (Physical Education) class and activities.
PE focuses on building physical strength, technique and skill and keeps kids active and healthy.
Essential learning in a well-rounded education.
It is recommended that children aged 5-17 years aim to meet 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise.
Schools should account for a minimum of two-and-a-half hours of that standard.
For many young people, the few hours a week at school set aside for PE and physical activity is the only physical activity they undertake.
And with COVID-19 ushering our schooling into the online world, the time dedicated to being active has likely reduced even further.
This begs the question, how can schools, teachers and parents ensure they encourage children to keep up their physical activity whilst learning remotely?
Unfortunately, this is not a simple dilemma.
Each school has its own method for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, and each family has access to different resources and operates on different schedules.
However, below are a few suggestions for both teachers and parents to try and close the activity gap.
Teachers should consider setting challenges, exercises and activities for children to do at home during school hours.
These exercises should be aerobic or body weight-based and not require too much space.
Exercises such as star jumps, running with high knees on the spot and plank challenges are great examples of easy-to-do activities for all ages.
Students could even film themselves for the class as a great way to hold them accountable and to include a sense of friendly competition.
Tasks such as this will help children reach their recommended weekly intake of exercise.
Plus, breaking up the day and having time away from screens will also ensure better focus, attention and learning outcomes overall.
Another example of a fun and easy way to get some movement in their day is for students to create their own dance or exercise routine.
Either provide a song or let the students choose, and let their creativity go wild!
This is a fun and exciting way for students to keep active and break up the mundane online schooling day.
Create a Schedule
Parents and teachers should consider setting an exercise schedule for students to follow outside of school hours.
Having a plan for each student to follow is a great way to encourage not only students but also families, to stay active.
It should be noted that some families may not have the resources to purchase their own exercise gear, so schools should design activities that require little equipment (eg a soccer ball), or consider providing equipment in certain cases.
This is also a great teaching opportunity, as students can learn the theory behind different movement types, and the relationship between movement and the body.
This will not only ensure students hit their weekly recommended exercise target but that they gain a lifelong understanding of how to maintain a healthy and strong body.
Overall, it's important for teachers and parents to remember that for students to have a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, promoting physical wellness and exercise is essential.
School is not just about learning ABCs and 123s, but ensuring children learn the skills they need to live a healthy and successful life.