Physical Learning To Support Children’s Mental Health


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How can schools provide a recovery curriculum, reduce attainment and support children’s physical health?

The research is clear. Schools that enable children to take part in physical activity have long provided opportunities for students to find their niche and develop specific skills beyond the classroom.

During the pandemic, all of us in some shape or form will have had to balance work, our mental and physical health, homeschooling, remote teaching or both! Whatever challenge the pandemic has placed on your doorstep, we can all acknowledge the importance of physical activity.

What if I had a better relationship with physical activity?

Over the years I’ve had a love and hate relationship with physical exercise, playing semiprofessional football and cycling, to recently embracing my dog walks around the local area and giving up on any extraneous exercise. As a parent, where possible, my son and I have enjoyed outdoor exercise on our bikes, kicking a ball or a run around the local park with our Border Collie ‘Patch’. To be honest, on some occasions I have had to drag my son out the front door!

Delivering physical activity through the curriculum…

Throughout the pandemic, I have been working with a large number of organisations. I have been curious to watch television celebrities offer their ideas for parents, as well as schools and edtech organisations, share physical activities for children stuck at home during lockdown.

I’ve recently paired up with Teach Active, an award-winning online resource, providing teachers with thousands of lesson and homework plans to deliver the primary maths and English curriculum through physical activity. Last month I led a webinar to introduce Teach Active to my audience. Over 500 teachers signed up from 40 different countries!

The Department for Education are encouraging schools to prioritise physical activity. There are well-established links between physical activity, improved mental wellbeing and educational attainment (Vicky Ford).

Could your pupils benefit too?

Countless schools and children across the UK and internationally are already benefiting from Teach Active. Thousands of resources and plans are matched and mapped to the primary curriculum, with schools using sport and pupil premium funding to help teach and support young peoples’ attitudes and attainment within maths, reading and writing.

Physical learning post-pandemic?

Whilst also increasing levels of physical activity, it has been great to observe how other schools have been using it, and watching how many teachers have also become more engaged with physical activity. There’s hope for me too!

I am reminded of this video in China that went viral a couple of years ago. Some of us laughed, but I do wonder how many of us would consider the serious implications of keeping our young people active post-pandemic?

Physical activity in all schools throughout the day must become a sustainable change. We know active children do better and most children enjoy this way of working too – and it supports attainment too!

Why not rebuild your primary curriculum with Teach Active?

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