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Confusion around phys-ed and physical activity

Confusion around physical education and physical activity

Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) is concerned about recent reports in the media regarding primary school physical education. Reports reflect wide-spread misunderstanding about curriculum physical education and co-curricular physical activity and their relationship.

“Increased understanding of physical education and its relationship to physical activity will benefit children considerably and enable the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that can be applied both within and outside of physical activity settings” says Lorna Gillespie, President of PENZ.

Curriculum physical education is delivered by qualified teachers in school hours. Co-curricular physical activity comes in many forms from play to sport, and happens before and after school and at lunchtimes.

Physical education is a curriculum based subject that is required to be implemented in all primary schools along with all other curriculum areas. PENZ, the professional body for physical education, reports that the changes referred to in the Herald article of 30 January do not include mandating of an hour a day of physical education.

The changes are as follows: Education regulation change to NAG 1 i (c). From 1 January 2006 all school boards of trustees are required to give priority to regular quality physical activity the develops movement skills for all students, especially in years 1-6. NEG 5. A broad education through a balanced curriculum covering essential learning areas. Priority should be given to the development of high levels of competence (knowledge and skills) in literacy and numeracy, science and technology and physical activity.

The changes in the guidelines for schools aim to increase the quality and regularity of both curriculum physical education and co-curricular physical activity. Delivering quality teaching and learning programmes in physical education is something that all schools will be able to achieve with ongoing support and professional development. By providing a range of quality co-curricular physical activities within the school community, children will have increased opportunities to apply the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes learned though physical education. Schools will continue to develop their own programmes based on the Physical education curriculum and the needs of their students.

“There has been considerable focus on linking physical inactivity to physical health issues over recent times and the benefits of physical education and physical activity go beyond physical health alone. Children and young people need to be provided with meaningful physical education programmes and to experience fun and enjoyment through relevant physical activities. The associated educational and social benefits should not be underestimated” says Lorna Gillespie.

It is essential that physical education, and schools, is not charged with the sole responsibility of the nation’s health. While the education children gain through a quality teaching and learning programme in physical education can increase the likelihood of them being involved in physical activity over the lifespan, physical education is about more than this alone.


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