The need to go beyond the Physical Education school curriculum
When it comes to essential home learning, physical education is sprinting to catch up. Every subject leader knows that curriculum time alone is never enough. Literacy and maths coordinators have long known how important it is to support families in helping their young children’s learning. Home reading programmes at primary school are now the norm, and we all understand the value of encouraging the playing of board and card games with children at home. When we successfully bridge the gap between school and home, we create an enormous boost to sustainable learning success and help develop habits that will benefit children long into the future.
Establishing those early foundations is no different for physical education, indeed it is essential we invest in supporting our families to support us. It is so important that children hear the same clear, positive messages and, indeed, see the positive actions role modelled by the most important people in their lives. This will involve commitment to a cultural change where physical education is truly a full team effort. Like literacy and maths, it is the responsibility of everyone. Every child starts their journey wanting to move and learn; we must work together to maximise the opportunity to create positive early core memories and experiences for them.
Just as products like ‘Purple Mash’ and ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’ have helped support children with a daily programme of personalised practice, we too can align curriculum outcomes for physical education and the Foundation Curriculum with joyful home activities. Our aim should never be to replace critical unstructured play, or indeed structured clubs, but we can provide an additional layer of rich learning to all important trips to the park and scootering to school.
We understand it’s not easy for families to juggle everything and it can be a daunting task to know where to start to support our children with meaningful and joyful physical activity. Modern applications on a phone, now mean we have the functionality and technology available to do so much better that the one size fits all ‘copy me’ screen activities. We should aim to revolutionise home support with a completely new level of educational ambition. We have the ability to personalise a range of rich, exciting activities to best align with physical literacy stage and need, providing flexible challenge and support in equal measure.
We have proven ways of rewarding children, celebrating personal bests and small step progress while praising them for trying something new, resilience, creativity or making their own choices. Augmented reality technology means we can play anywhere and everywhere with fabulous high-quality demonstration through thematic animation and, at the same time, empower the ‘grown ups’ to play with and alongside the children. Confidence to support the children in their care builds with opportunities to instruct, interact, involve, and eventually immerse in the activities themselves.
We can help create a culture whereby short regular meaningful bursts of physical activity throughout the day becomes the norm. Every child can then thrive through a joyful relationship with physical activity. Technology can gather those bursts and evidence progress in physical development, positive behaviours, and a cumulative increase in activity. We can share directly with schools and truly complete the circle of working and celebrating together with families. What better treat can we give to our own children than to immerse ourselves with them in joyful positive play?
At present we have a fragmented approach resulting in too many children not having positive early experiences and developing the early physical skills and confidence needed. Let’s commit to transform EVERY child’s physical literacy and wellbeing by bridging the gap between school and home. The future has to be schools and families collaborating to help EVERY child develop the confidence, skills and enjoyment they need and deserve to be happy, active, healthy and successful.
Our new engaging, educational App, BURSTS, helps schools to inspire families. It equips families with fun, thematic, personalised and progressive activities and will give them the confidence to enjoy playing and being active together. It will also provide real time feedback on activity levels and progress to show you’re making a proven difference.