There’s no doubt that children today spend most of their time either glued to their smartphones or fixed on their classroom desks. To put it simply, they’re not moving enough. As a result, they’re not physically, mentally, and emotionally strong for academic challenges.
While parents have the duty to get their kids moving, school leaders are equally responsible, especially since children spend hours every day in school. It’s time to promote the ‘active culture’ in your community. Here’s how you can cultivate that.
Introduce different opportunities for physical activity.
Go beyond the actual physical education programs. Incorporate fitness activities in the classroom. For instance, you can have dance icebreakers before you jump to the next lesson in your module. You can also bring back traditional street games a lot of kids are no longer familiar with, when you’re introducing a new concept.
Remember ‘What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?’ or the ‘Red Letter’? Restructure these games, so you can make lessons of photosynthesis and Shakespearean poems stick.
From the classroom, move outside, in the greater campus. Consider initiating physical activities during recess or lunch. Perhaps schedule a once-a-month fun dodge ball game for different grade levels. Make fitness activities a part of your everyday routines, whether in the classroom or outside.
Involve students in the brainstorming of programs.
Even with only a few students involved in the planning, this will accomplish a lot of things. One, you can increase the pupils’ sense of ownership of the active culture, precisely because they’re part of the planning. Over time, this makes them committed to it even with little supervision from you.
Two, with the buy-in of some students secured, it increases the likelihood for bandwagon effect later, with everyone catching the active culture fever. Three, you’ll be able to ensure that the programs you’ll create will appeal to the rest of the students.
So, pick a handful of good students from your community and work with them in planning fitness programs. Assign key people for the promotion, execution, and follow-through of such.
Influence the greater community.
Your school doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Students will be affected by the community surrounding them. If the district or city you’re in also prioritises the active lifestyle, then it will be easy, natural even, for kids to get active, too. Work with other stakeholders in your locale in promoting the active culture.
In launching a bike-to-school program, for instance, you would need to get the buy-in of parents, participation of the police, and permission from government authorities or neighbourhood associations. Safe routes are a priority in this program, so beyond the provision of cycle shelters in your vicinity, UK-based experts say you need to identify the parties that will be of help outside your campus community.
Embracing the active culture is the kind of paradigm shift that needs to happen in schools. If you want your students to be healthy and strong, in every sense of the word, start cultivating a lifestyle of movement and fitness today.