Fitness fans

“He oranga ngākau, He pikinga waiora.

Positive feelings in your heart will raise your sense of self-worth.” (Health & PE curriculum)

“Come into my team!” It is the familiar cry of the class game, students quickly forming a team with friends, fearing they will miss out and be excluded.

A new physical education programme called MoveWell aims to challenge this notion and others, as it supports students to look at new and different ways of participating in team games. It aims to build on students’ creative and playful natures, “not by just ‘teaching skills’ but by creating environments that allow them to explore, problem solve and build their movement abilities, competence and confidence to play games with others and feel a sense of success.” (MoveWell website)

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Rather than the focus being ‘accurately throw the ball to a partner’, the aim of one game Room 8 played, called Team Corner Ball, was ‘inclusive play’. Students were then prompted with Learning Questions, such as:

  • How did you feel about the focus of this game being on putting others first?

  • What did your team do to ensure that everyone was included?

  • What did you feel about the use of golden snitch to free players? How does this relate to inclusion and fairness?

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Discussion was not around who was the best at throwing and catching or which team won. It was about making sure everyone had a positive experience and that students cared about the experience of others. This links strongly with our POWER values of whānau and respect. All key competencies are embedded within these games, especially Participating and Contributing and Relating to Others. The key competency of Using Language, Symbols, and Texts is also crucial when it comes to understanding and clarifying the rules, and exploring variations of the games. The areas of the Health and Physical Education curriculum being taught are Personal Health and Physical Development (personal growth and development alongside regular physical activity) and Movement Concepts and Motor Skills (positive attitudes and challenge). And, as you can see below, even student teachers can feel success and achievement with their team!

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It’s fun because there’s a lot of people playing and most of the games include running. - Isobel

It’s great because it’s fun and I like playing with my team. - Mithesh

I enjoyed the game because one of my tactics was tackling. - Adam

I really like fitness because the games are really fun and I get to tag the boys. - Mackenzie

These games have a strong link to Te Whare Tapa Whā, “the model of the four dimensions of well being developed by Sir Mason Durie in 1984 to provide a Māori perspective on health.” (Health Navigator website) Room 8 made a large, collaborative collage at the start of the year to help us remember the four dimensions: taha tinana (physical wellbeing), taha hinengaro (mental wellbeing), taha wairua (spiritual well being) and taha whānau (family and social well being), which are all built on the whenua (land). Playing these games enhances taha tinana and taha whānau for all.

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When students realise they have the support of their team, they are more willing to be on combined boy/girl teams or perhaps in a team away from their best friends. Students develop “a sense of who they are among others (an appreciation of their own strengths), a sense of belonging (when accepted and appreciated by others), and a sense of community (when valued by a team or group). When these outcomes are cumulative and positive, (students) are likely to encourage life-fulfilling and perhaps even lifelong engagement in enjoyable physical activity.” (MoveWell booklet).

Keywords: Health and PE, fitness, MoveWell, Te Whare Tapa Whā, POWER, key competencies

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