The following guest post comes from P.E NQT Evie Foster, who explains how parents and teachers can ensure P.E. remains a key part of home learning.
The integration of Physical Education into the home ‘curriculum’ is a concept that is not only daunting for parents but also teachers.
As we step further and further into the unknown during this period of unprecedented school closures, parents are having to take the reins and support their children in delivering a broad array of subjects. Teachers are having to create and communicate resources for our students on as great a scale as we can, from a distance that is unlike anything we have ever experienced.
A united front like no other, we are persistently networking with one another to ensure that we continue to provide valuable learning experiences that extend way beyond the school environment, and into the homes of families across the world.
Unlike the academic nature of other subjects, PE offers an outlet for children and is a crucial aspect of their daily lives. Embedding PE into your home routine provides an opportunity for children to release energy whilst learning how to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. PE is fundamental to both physical and mental wellbeing and there is an avenue for every child to explore and enjoy.
With this in mind, keeping kids active is vital when considering an all-encompassing and balanced home learning programme, due to the endless benefits that the subject offers.
When reflecting on the incorporation of PE within the home curriculum, three words spring to mind; Creativity, Competitiveness and Challenge.
1. Make it competitive.
Kids love a challenge. Perhaps they could compete against their siblings, or send results to their friends. A daily or weekly challenge they can continue to try and beat, gives children something to aspire towards and look forward to.
My department have been setting challenges for our students most days. We maintain engagement and motivation by sharing their results on our social media pages and this has proven extremely successful.
Providing a platform for competition and praising engagement has enabled us to ensure children are staying active at home and are incorporating PE into their home setting.
2. Challenge yourself and get involved.
This is the perfect opportunity for parents/carers to improve their fitness and become a role model to their children. PE experiences are often more enjoyable if they are shared, so why not chuck on your trainers and give it a shot!
Likewise, teachers you are these pupils’ PE role models every day. Show them that you are remaining active at home to inspire them to do so. As teachers we need to be here for our students and their families more than ever. We are all searching for effective ways to share expertise and knowledge.
Video tutorials and demonstrations are a fantastic and easily accessible example that have the ability to efficiently connect with pupils and share information.
3. Be Creative
PE doesn’t need to involve specialist equipment or facilities. Use what you have at home and your imagination.
Children can invent a game or sport they can complete at home, taking ownership and pride in their autonomy. Although children may not have the AstroTurf or acres of school field, this does not prevent them from partaking in some form of activity. Something as simple as throwing rolled up socks at targets can keep families entertained for hours, whilst developing children’s throwing and accuracy skills.
YouTube is such a powerful platform for a huge variety of sporting activities. From yoga, to fitness, Just Dance to kickboxing, there are so many resources available that are tailored to children’s needs. The educational nature of PE is often undervalued but it is important to highlight that students are still learning. Try and relate their activity to some educational content – for example having a labelled picture of the muscular system and completing a fitness video – students have to point to what muscles they are using during each exercise so they can learn their names.
Embedding educational material ensures children’s PE experiences are worthwhile, and that meaningful learning is taking place. However, of course at the core of any PE experiences we focus on inclusion, enjoyment and participation, where we endeavour to promote a love for our subject.
Finally…you are enough.
The uncertainty we are all experiencing and how to possibly manage it is often overwhelming. But encouraging your child to be active is enough, your support and guidance is enough.
Teachers, we are all working tirelessly to ensure our subject is not overlooked and brushed aside, offering so many incredible resources for our students. We are doing an unbelievable job and PE will continue to thrive within the home curriculum due to our continued passion and dedication to the profession we love.