Incorporating physical activity to achieve better academic outcomes was front and centre when some 60 teachers from Mid-North Coast primary schools converged on Port Macquarie Racecourse on Friday.
The interactive workshop was a joint initiative of NSW Health, the Australian Council of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) and the Department of Education, and builds on the Live Life Well @ School Program.
The workshop included sessions on Fundamental Movement Skills, physically active classrooms, traditional Indigenous games and learning literacy through physical activity.
Huntingdon Public School’s Rachel McCann said the workshops aimed to give teachers the knowledge and skills to help children be more physically active throughout their school day, both within and outside the classroom.
“This workshop is designed to help teachers learn how to integrate fundamental movement skills into their classroom practices,” she said.
“The aim is to get students more active, more often in order to meet certain targets set by the premier. This is also about targeting obesity in students.
“We have found that a lot of teaching is sedentary and students are sitting for much of the day in the classroom.
“Many students also go home and use devices – including ipads, iphones or games – so we need to get more physical activity into their day.”
Mrs McCann said the workshops were providing teachers with ways to implement changes into their daily processes.
“If we can create physically active students in their primary school age groups, we can create physically active adults for the future,” she added.
Once students are motivated by this shift in teaching they become motivated toward wanting this activity over and over.
Mrs McCann has worked with teachers throughout Australia and in the US in helping explain how to move 10 minutes of a math lesson into a physical activity.
“Once students are motivated by this shift in teaching they become motivated toward wanting this activity over and over.
“It’s about incorporating learning into a physical activity.”
Teachers are attempting to provide 150 minutes per week per student of moderate to vigorous physical activity included into their curriculum each week.
Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) Health Promotion Officer Rachel Gerathy said that the workshop provided a great opportunity for teachers to develop competency and confidence in planning physical activity options for their students.
“The teachers who attended the workshop were shown some really fun, interactive and educational activities that they can now take back to their schools and share with the children,” Ms Gerathy said.
For more information about Live Life Well @ School, visit the MNCLHD website at https://mnclhd.health.nsw.gov.au/services/health-promotion/kids-families/live-life-well-at-school/