Sports in Schools

De­vel­op­ing phys­i­cal lit­er­acy in our stu­dents, through pro­grams like Sport­ing Schools, could coun­ter­act the wor­ry­ing de­cline in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity across the na­tion and sup­port a gen­er­a­tional change to­wards more ac­tive and healthy life­styles.

The Australian Education Reporter - - CONTENTS - EMMA DAVIES

Q. How do stu­dents ben­e­fit from sports par­tic­i­pa­tion?

Ev­i­dence shows that phys­i­cally ac­tive Aus­tralians live longer, hap­pier and health­ier lives. In ad­di­tion to get­ting more ac­tive, stu­dents’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity re­duces stress, and builds re­silience, hap­pi­ness and con­fi­dence.

Sport plays a pos­i­tive role in chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tional achieve­ment. Chil­dren who play sport have im­proved cog­ni­tive de­vel­op­ment, are more at­ten­tive at school, and achieve bet­ter aca­demic re­sults.

Sport also teaches chil­dren crit­i­cal life skills such as team­work, fair play and re­silience, which are im­por­tant driv­ers of suc­cess as an adult.

In­creas­ingly Aus­tralian chil­dren are fail­ing to de­velop the skills re­quired to be­come phys­i­cally lit­er­ate. They are un­able to per­form ba­sic fun­da­men­tal move­ment skills such as run­ning, throw­ing, kick­ing, catch­ing or jump­ing; and they lack the con­fi­dence, abil­ity and mo­ti­va­tion to move and to be phys­i­cally ac­tive.

Sup­port­ing our chil­dren to de­velop ef­fec­tive phys­i­cal lit­er­acy skills in early life will have a last­ing im­pact on the con­fi­dence and ca­pa­bil­ity of all Aus­tralians to par­tic­i­pate in sport and to be phys­i­cally ac­tive through­out their lives.

Q. What is ‘phys­i­cal lit­er­acy’ and why is it im­por­tant?

Phys­i­cal lit­er­acy is what peo­ple learn through move­ment; about them­selves, other peo­ple and the world around them.

Phys­i­cal lit­er­acy is an ap­proach that ad­vo­cates for holis­tic de­vel­op­ment and con­sid­ers the in­ter­re­lat­ed­ness of the phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, cog­ni­tive and so­cial learn­ing

ca­pac­i­ties.

With this fo­cus, and in part­ner­ship across the ed­u­ca­tion, health and sport sec­tors, we can sup­port bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion out­comes, im­proved health and well­be­ing, and the next gen­er­a­tion of Aus­tralians re­al­is­ing the broader ben­e­fits of a phys­i­cally ac­tive life­style.

With well-de­vel­oped phys­i­cal lit­er­acy skills in early life, Aus­tralians will be more likely to have the con­fi­dence and ca­pa­bil­ity to par­tic­i­pate in sport and to be phys­i­cally ac­tive through­out their lives.

It’s a be­havioural change, and par­ents will play a crit­i­cal role in en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to move.

Ev­i­dence sug­gests that in­di­vid­u­als who de­velop ef­fec­tive phys­i­cal lit­er­acy early in life are more likely to be phys­i­cally ac­tive through­out their lives as they pos­sess the ca­pa­bil­ity, con­fi­dence and mo­ti­va­tion to move.

In one of the largest stud­ies of its kind

in the world, a team at the Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia has tracked for over 30 years Aus­tralian chil­dren’s ‘phys­i­cal quo­tient’, a mea­sure of phys­i­cal fit­ness and skill lev­els.

Their work shows a star­tling de­cline in chil­dren’s phys­i­cal lit­er­acy.

Chil­dren’s fit­ness has de­clined, with the av­er­age child in 2015 fin­ish­ing 250m be­hind the av­er­age child in the 1980s over a 1.6km run, and their scores for ba­sic phys­i­cal skills, such as throw­ing, catch­ing, kick­ing, for­ward rolls and hand­stands, have de­clined fur­ther than fit­ness lev­els.

To­gether this means the ‘phys­i­cal quo­tient’ of the av­er­age child to­day is 10 to 15 points lower than their 1980s peers on a 100 point scale.

The im­pli­ca­tions of this de­cline are sig­nif­i­cant, with far more Aus­tralian chil­dren reach­ing adult­hood to­day with­out the phys­i­cal lit­er­acy needed to lead an ac­tive, healthy life.

Q. What sports are in­cluded in the Sport­ing Schools pro­gram?

Sport­ing Schools is an in­ter­ven­tion to ad­dress low mea­sures of child­hood fit­ness and help kids de­velop the fun­da­men­tal move­ment skills they need in every­day ac­tiv­ity.

Ex­plic­itly teach­ing, coach­ing, and de­vel­op­ing phys­i­cal lit­er­acy has the po­ten­tial to coun­ter­act the de­cline in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity across the na­tion, and sup­port a gen­er­a­tional change to­wards more ac­tive and healthy life­styles.

Since Sport­ing Schools be­gan in Term 3 2015, there have been al­most 3.5 mil­lion stu­dent at­ten­dances, with 383,852 chil­dren join­ing the fun and get­ting phys­i­cally ac­tive in Term 4 last year.

We’ve part­nered with 33 na­tional sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions (NSOS) to de­liver high qual­ity sport pro­grams across Aus­tralia for free via their net­works of aligned or­gan­i­sa­tions and coaches. From ath­let­ics to bowls, eques­trian to hockey, sail­ing to vol­ley­ball, we’re sure to have a sport your school would like to try.

So far, our NSO part­ners have de­liv­ered more than 32,700 pro­grams in schools.

With their in­volve­ment, Sport­ing Schools of­fers a greater de­liv­ery of na­tion­ally en­dorsed prod­ucts sup­ported by Nso-en­dorsed coaches that can also sup­port your school’s cur­ricu­lum.

A re­cent in­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion of the pro­gram iden­ti­fied strong com­mu­nity sen­ti­ment for a na­tional sport ac­cess pro­gram such as Sport­ing Schools. The eval­u­a­tion found that 89 per cent of peo­ple us­ing Sport­ing Schools strongly en­dorse the pro­gram and want to stay in­volved.

Q. What kind of fund­ing is avail­able for schools?

The Aus­tralian Govern­ment’s $160 mil­lion pro­gram of­fers two types of fund­ing – pri­mary school and sec­ondary school grants.

“Chil­dren’s fit­ness has de­clined, with the av­er­age child in 2015 fin­ish­ing 250m be­hind the av­er­age child in the 1980s over a 1.6km run.”

Schools need to regis­ter first on the Sport­ing Schools web­site, and en­sure they meet the el­i­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ments which is also avail­able on the site, then they can ap­ply for fund­ing – which is avail­able each term through­out the year.

Q. How can schools find a coach or sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion?

Schools book their sport pack­ages on­line through our book­ing sys­tem. Once the school has ap­plied for fund­ing and been ap­proved, the co­or­di­na­tor should sim­ply fol­low our step-by-step guide avail­able on­line.

Q. What kind of cur­ricu­lum re­sources are avail­able?

In part­ner­ship with key NSOS and ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als, we have de­vel­oped re­sources to help sports and schools de­liver qual­ity sport ac­tiv­i­ties and games that are closely aligned with the Aus­tralian cur­ricu­lum.

These re­sources have been de­vel­oped specif­i­cally for teach­ers and coaches to sup­port stu­dent learn­ing in Health and Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion (HPE).

A pop­u­lar re­source is our re­de­vel­oped Play­ing For Life and Sports Abil­ity re­sources. Both these re­sources are de­signed for teach­ers to use ev­ery day – dur­ing class, at lunchtime or as part of their HPE classes.

To­gether, they in­clude more than 170 en­gag­ing and in­clu­sive ac­tiv­i­ties that have been de­vel­oped by us in align­ment with the Aus­tralian Health and Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Cur­ricu­lum. The Sports Abil­ity cards pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for all young Aus­tralians to be in­volved and have fun through phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and sport, re­gard­less of their abil­ity.

They pro­vide step-by-step guid­ance for teach­ers, coaches and de­liv­er­ers, in­clud­ing sug­ges­tions for ways to mod­ify el­e­ments of each ac­tiv­ity to en­sure that ev­ery child is able to par­tic­i­pate.

Q. What pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment is avail­able for Health and PE teach­ers?

The ASC has de­vel­oped 14 free on­line pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment cour­ses that are suit­able for teach­ers, coaches, of­fi­cials, ath­letes and sec­ondary school stu­dents.

Learn­ers can un­der­take the cour­ses at their own pace and when they are fin­ished, a cer­tifi­cate is granted which, in some in­stances, can be recog­nised as Teacher Iden­ti­fied Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment.

The ASC’S Com­mu­nity Coach­ing Gen­eral Prin­ci­ples course is en­dorsed by the New South Wales Ed­u­ca­tion Stan­dards Au­thor­ity (NESA) as Reg­is­tered Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment for teach­ers ac­cred­ited at Pro­fi­cient Level Teacher.

Sport­ing Schools also pro­vides ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for teacher pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment through a co-de­liv­ery model.

Draw­ing on an ac­cred­ited coach’s knowl­edge of sport and a teacher’s ed­u­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, co-de­liv­ery en­cour­ages for­mal and in­for­mal skills trans­fer be­tween coaches and teach­ers. The pro­gram sup­ports teacher learn­ing so schools can offer qual­ity phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity ex­pe­ri­ences and build closer re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal sport­ing clubs and the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

ASC Sport Busi­ness and Strate­gic Part­ner­ships gen­eral man­ager Andrew Lar­ratt. All Im­ages: Aus­tralian Sports Com­mis­sion

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