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Active boys do better in the classroom

Junior School Weekend Sport

From the Deputy Head of College, Patrick Brennan

Waverley College’s emphasis on boys engaging in lifelong physical activity has once again been supported in a recent study at Flinders University.

According to the University it is time to place “physical and sport literacy” abilities such as the movement essentials of running and throwing on a par with spelling and arithmetic as essential to children’s long-term health and wellbeing.

Associate Professor Shane Pill of Flinders University says “physical literacy” which includes skills such as learning how to run, jump, catch and throw should be considered a “general capability” that is critical to children’s development and confidence.

It is also fundamental to a child’s ability to perform well at academic and other tasks at school.

Waverley College meets these recommendations not only through the mandatory PDHPE Syllabus in Stages 3 to 5 but also in our wide and varied co-curricular program during winter and summer as well as the optional Track and Field and Swimming seasons. Waverley College students have never had more of an opportunity engage in meaningful physical activity with the recent introduction of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Drama Club.

As schools prepare to celebrate National Health and Physical Education Day on 6 September, the President of the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation – said physical literacy should be the responsibility of every teacher and not just those with “health” or “PE” in their titles.

The Australian curriculum calls for students to receive health and physical education from the first year of schooling until year 10. The development of the abilities associated with becoming physically literate should not be solely the responsibility of health and physical education teachers any more than supporting reading issues is only the responsibility of English teachers.

As the case with literacy and numeracy, for example, all teachers at the College regardless of their teaching faculty, work towards outcomes which develop these important skills. All staff too are engaged in one or more sport or activity throughout the year building students’ skills and developing credits with their students.

Waverley College develops students who understand the value of physical activity in healthy, active lives, and with mounting evidence showing that factors such as prolonged sitting and physical inactivity affecting cognitive performance, all teachers are monitoring the physical literacy of their students and flagging their concerns.

The Australian curriculum now reflects the prevalent understanding that school is the best environment in which to ensure young people are introduced to the benefits of physical activity, from the development of basic skills to their willing participation in sports.

Involvement in sport at Waverley College develops our students’ capabilities in many of the basic functions such as running, throwing and catching that we perform throughout our lives – whether or not we ever play competitive sport – and their confidence in being able to perform those functions.

Those capabilities and that confidence influence their choice whether to be active as older children, adolescents and adults, and so have direct bearing on their health and wellbeing as adults.

Playing school sport clearly has short-term health benefits but it also builds social and emotional skills such as persistence, resilience, working as part of a team and communicating to help each other achieve group goals.