Play creates happy, healthy kids

2016-10-04 06:00
Learners from Constantia Primary School enjoy a game of soccer organised by Sporting Chance. Their wish is to see physical education being implemented at schools more as it is highly beneficial. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Learners from Constantia Primary School enjoy a game of soccer organised by Sporting Chance. Their wish is to see physical education being implemented at schools more as it is highly beneficial. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Constantia Primary school is one of the 30 schools that will be benefit from Sporting Chance and Disney Africa launch of the Disney Healthy Happy Play programme in the country.

The launch was done in an effort to empower more schools to embed physical education into their curriculums.

The programme provides fun and creative tools for educators and learners using Disney characters and stories as inspiration.

Disney Healthy Happy Play will reach about 15 000 learners in four provinces in the coming months, having kicked off in the Western Cape schools in early August. The programme will also be rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Focusing on exercise and nutrition, the programme is being implemented by sports coaching and development organisation Sporting Chance, with material developed in collaboration with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and the Department of Basic Education.

Brad Bing, Sporting Chance marketing director, says a lack of physical education or physical education teachers allocated to schools needs to be addressed. “Physical education (PE) is vital. Not only does it get kids healthy and active with the schools that we have worked with, PE has been shown to minimise bullying. It increases concentration in class. This is something that has to be looked at. It must be implemented as it is highly beneficial,” he says.

Daniel Borman, acting school principal, echoed the importance of sport. “Children who take part in physical activities do well in class. It also helps with discipline and builds team work. We feel extremely happy to be one of the schools chosen for this sporting programme,” he says.

Quoting from the latest Healthy Active Kids South Africa (HAKSA) report, Sporting Chance’s general manager, Natalie Pollock, says PE was dropped as a stand-alone subject from the public school curriculum in 1994 and only reinstated recently as part of the Life Orientation subject.

“The introduction of a national sport and recreation plan has led to improvements in PE and nutrition but, overall, we are not doing nearly enough to help children eat better and exercise more,” she says.

Pollock says the challenge in turning the tide is most acute in underresourced schools, which lack expertise, equipment, facilities and often the will to introduce and sustain exercise and good nutrition among their learners.

This programme supports schools in properly integrating PE into the curriculum by providing them with training and equipment and, most importantly, by monitoring their progress and providing mentorship.

“We are proud to be collaborating with Disney, whose engaging and imaginative content really brings the programme, its engagement and interactivity to life,” she adds.

Christine Service, senior vice president and country manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa, says they are thrilled to be working with Sporting Chance to add elements of fun and creativity to this innovative and sustainable programme.

“Using our Disney characters and stories as inspiration to get kids active, we hope that Disney Happy Healthy Play will not only be a positive and exciting experience for teachers and learners, but will also encourage them to take these learnings and apply them in their everyday family lives.”

The Disney Happy Healthy Play programme consists of three components:

. An Edu Module, brought to life with iconic characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy, for Grade 3 teachers and learners. The colourful, exciting workbooks focus on the importance of physical activity, how to participate in sport and play, and their subsequent positive effects. Included in the module is a focus on balanced eating and nutrition. Teachers are supplied with these workbooks and lesson plans, and learners with worksheets.

.Music-filled, fun morning assemblies at the various schools, in which the importance of physical activity is communicated in a lively and entertaining format to teachers and learners covering Grades 2 to 6.

. A physical education and sports challenge for teachers and learners in Grades 3 to 5. This aims to create excitement around being physically active with a focus on quality sports coaching and getting learners to play in a structured environment.

It includes demonstrations of exercises and drills followed by mini games and matches in various types of sport.

Schools receive Disney-themed physical education workbooks containing exercises and drills, and leave-behind sports kits to enable them to take the programme forward.

Schools will receive continued support through a mentoring and monitoring system. Regular assessments of progress in implementing the programme will also be made. A database of the schools and educators will also be developed to create a network for sharing skills and ongoing development.

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