How 2 (School) Sport
This week’s research took me into the world of school sport at primary schools.
In particular, the role of physical eduction (think school sports), in promoting social and physical inclusion and well being for all students in schools of less than 150 students.
Physical education is a crucial aspect of the overall development of children, and it plays an essential role in primary school settings.
Primary school children require a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day to achieve optimal health benefits.
Therefore, sports programs in primary schools play a significant role in achieving these recommended levels of physical activity.
Sports programs can also develop social skills, teamwork, and leadership qualities in children.
However, sports programs in NSW primary schools with less than 150 students face unique challenges such as: limited resources and a lack of specialist sports staff.
So, let’s talk best practice methods for educators responsible for sports programs in NSW primary schools with less than 150 students.
The NSW Department of Education has policies and guidelines in place to ensure the delivery of quality physical education in primary schools.
The NSW Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has developed the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Syllabus, which provides guidelines on what students should learn and be able to do in the subject.
The HPE syllabus includes content descriptions, which identify what students should know and understand, and achievement standards, which describe the expected levels of achievement.
Unsurprisingly, it is essential that educators responsible for sports programs in primary schools align their program with the HPE syllabus to ensure they are delivering quality physical education equitably to ALL students.
The NSW Department of Education has also developed the Physical Activity and Sport in Schools (PASS) program, which aims to increase the levels of physical activity among students and encourage lifelong participation in physical activity.
The PASS program provides resources, including lesson plans and activities, for teachers to use in their physical education lessons.
Educators responsible for sports programs in primary schools should utilise the resources available through the PASS program to ensure that their program aligns with the program’s objectives.
Best Practice Methods:
- Multi-sport approach:
Educators responsible for sports programs in primary schools should adopt a multi-sport approach to ensure that students are exposed to a range of sports and physical activities.
The multi-sport approach can help students develop a broad range of physical skills, which can lead to increased physical literacy.
Physical literacy refers to the development of fundamental movement skills, which are essential for lifelong participation in physical activity.
The multi-sport approach can also help students find a sport or physical activity that they enjoy and want to continue participating in.
Inclusion is a critical aspect of any sports program in a primary school setting.
Educators responsible for sports programs in primary schools should ensure that their program is inclusive of all students, regardless of their ability level.
Inclusion can help promote a sense of belonging among students and can help students develop social skills, empathy, and understanding of others. Educators responsible for sports programs in primary schools should consider modifying activities to ensure that all students can participate in the program.
- Differentiated Instruction:
Differentiated instruction refers to the use of different teaching strategies to meet the needs of students with different learning abilities.
Educators responsible for sports programs in primary schools should use differentiated instruction to ensure that all students can participate in the program.
For example, educators can modify activities to make them more accessible for students with disabilities or provide additional challenges for students who are more advanced.
Differentiated instruction can help promote inclusivity and can help ensure that all students are challenged and engaged in the program.
- Professional Development:
Professional development is crucial for educators responsible for sports programs in primary schools.
Professional development can provide educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver quality physical education.
Educators should attend professional development sessions and workshops to learn about new teaching strategies, equipment, and resources.
Sports programs & Students identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
Participation in team sports has many benefits for children, including physical fitness, socialisation, and personal development.
For Indigenous students, in particular, team sports participation can provide additional benefits that are particularly important for their well-being and success in school.
Firstly, team sports participation can help to foster a sense of belonging and connectedness for Indigenous students.
For many Indigenous students, school can be a challenging and unfamiliar environment that can lead to feelings of isolation or disconnection.
Team sports can provide a sense of community and connection to the school that can help to improve attendance, engagement, and overall well-being.
By participating in team sports, Indigenous students can develop a sense of pride in their school and community, which can be particularly important for students who may feel disconnected from their cultural heritage.
Secondly, team sports participation can help to develop important life skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership.
For Indigenous students, who may face additional challenges in their personal or family lives, developing these skills can be particularly important for their success in school and beyond.
By participating in team sports, Indigenous students can learn how to work collaboratively with others, communicate effectively, and take on leadership roles within a supportive and positive environment.
Thirdly, team sports participation can provide Indigenous students with positive role models and mentors.
Many Indigenous students may lack positive role models or mentors in their personal lives, which can impact their self-esteem, motivation, and overall well-being. By participating in team sports, Indigenous students can be exposed to positive role models and mentors, including coaches, teachers, and older student-athletes.
These positive role models can provide guidance and support, and can help to instill a sense of hope and optimism for the future.
Fourthly, team sports participation can help to promote physical health and well-being for Indigenous students.
Indigenous Australians experience higher rates of chronic disease and poor health outcomes compared to non-Indigenous Australians, and physical activity is an important factor in addressing these disparities.
By participating in team sports, Indigenous students can improve their physical fitness and overall health, and develop healthy habits that can carry over into adulthood.
Finally, team sports participation can help to promote cultural identity and pride for Indigenous students.
For many Indigenous students, participating in team sports can be an opportunity to express their cultural identity and pride.
Schools and sporting organisations can work together to incorporate cultural elements into team sports, such as acknowledging traditional custodians, performing cultural dances or songs, or incorporating Indigenous designs into team uniforms.
By promoting cultural identity and pride, team sports participation can help to improve the well-being and academic success of Indigenous students.
Team sports participation is an important aspect of the school experience for Indigenous students.
By providing opportunities for Indigenous students to participate in team sports, schools can help to promote a sense of belonging and connectedness, develop important life skills, provide positive role models and mentors, promote physical health and well-being, and promote cultural identity and pride.
By supporting Indigenous students in their team sports participation, schools can help to improve their well-being and academic success, and build a stronger and more inclusive school community.
If your child is at a small primary school in NSW, double check their school policy is both aligned and exercised in line with best practice methods and Department and NESA recommendations.
This is an excerpt from ongoing research conducted for Digital Media Academy
into Educational Leadership practices and policy in NSW, Australia.
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