How to Deliver Socially Distant PE
For many children, Physical Education and School Sport is the only physical activity that they will access regularly. Over the past seven years, since the introduction of the School Sports Premium Fund, schools have worked tirelessly to ensure that children not only access high quality teaching and coaching, but also access regular meaningful competition in an attempt to create a life-long love of sport for our children.
The benefits of Physical Education are plentiful, it not only contributes to improved physical fitness and technical competence, but Physical Education also supports wider skill development of our pupils.
PE and School Sport:
- Teaches Respect – for yourself, your teammates and teachers
- Teaches Self Discipline – encouraging the children to work as hard as they possibly can.
- Influences Moral Development through encouraging fair play and sportsmanship
- Develops Leadership and Communications Skills.
- Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Depression
- Develops Goal Setting and Self Evaluation Skills
- Increases concentration and academic performance
- Provides an all-round sense of achievement, confidence, wellbeing and happiness.
It is far more than developing throwing and catching skills, the skills that are developed in Physical Education are representative of the skills required for everyday life.
However, (understandably) due to the current risks of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing we are regularly asked
Is it safe to deliver PE ?
The simple answer is YES! Which lead to the follow up question of; HOW?
true, that Physical Education and School Sport may look a little different at the moment, but it has arguably never been more important to deliver these sessions, below we detail, from personal teaching experience, how to deliver safe, socially distant PE and why you should ensure that it is happening more often than usual! We appreciate that there are site specific considerations but here is what has worked for us.
PLANNING AND PREPARATION
- Ensure that an updated PE Timetable is in place for your school to ensure that there is time and space to deliver your activity safely.
- Consider the space that is available to you – we have been using part of the school field or playground about the size of a regular netball court PLEASE ENSURE YOU DELIVER SESSIONS OUTSIDE!
- Consider the equipment that you wish to use – we have been limiting the use of shared equipment, but we still want PE to be effective, fun and engaging, so using agility ladders, hurdles and cones have been really useful.
- Now you know where PE can safely be delivered and you know the resources you can use safely, plan from there! We have been focusing on Mastering Running and Jumping, whilst developing Agility Balance, Coordination, Strength and Flexibility. This allows us to deliver fun and engaging activities, but also worthwhile ones, we are back delivering Physical Education and not just physical Activity!
- Know your route! Ensure you have thought about how the children are going to move from their POD to their PE session. This will be down to your facility, but our advice would be to exit the school as soon as you can, maybe using the fire exit policy?
- If it is at all possible set up your teaching area and activities before the children move to the area, it helps maintain social distance.
- To the side of the teaching area, set out 15 cones in a semi circle, each cone should again be two meets apart – this is your dressing room (we paint the picture to the pupils that all great teams have great team talks in the dressing room area.) Children stand on their cone, their water bottle stays by their cone, and they move in and out of the dressing room on command.
- The set up that has worked for us is setting up 15 2m squares using cones or floor spots set out 2m apart on a netball court. There is a perfect amount of space for a full pod. Children are locked into their squares and only come out of their area when teachers allow it (with older children we can start to encourage them to be freer with their movements, even changing squares, but the 2m squares ensure safe delivery)
CHILDREN GETTING CHANGED INTO PE KITS
Encourage the children to come to school in appropriate clothing ready for activity. Especially with Reception and Year 1. We feel it currently poses more challenges than are necessary.
This is the easy part, if the planning and set up is correct, nothing should change… just do what you are good at, TEACH!
HEALTH AND SAFETY
- Teachers and Children to wash their hands prior to and at the end of every session. It may be easier to ensure that hand sanitiser is part of the first aid kit to stop children gathering in the toilets at the same time.
- Ensure that you are following your own schools risk assessment, however, we have been ensuring that there is a first aid kit out with us at all times that includes appropriate PPE (gloves, mask etc) to protect us and the children.
- Coats and Jackets on for inclement weather – still deliver outside.
- We would recommend reflecting on your own practice session by session, to ensure that everything is running smoothly and safely.
- Part of the children’s Physical Education is to reflect and make suggestions for improvements on their own performance. This is an ideal opportunity to spend time on this, to teach the importance of physical activity
- It is also an ideal chance to check in with the children and to see how they are from a mental health point of view.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
The benefits of Physical Education speak for themselves and hopefully you can see that by following the steps detailed above will ensure that everyone remains safe.
The World Health Organisation been very vocal about the importance of being active to remain healthy, and even in the strictest version of our lockdown people could still leave the house to exercise. According to the World Health Organisation:
“Regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind. It can reduce high blood pressure, help manage weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers - all conditions that can increase susceptibility to COVID-19.”
WE KNOW YOU WILL LOVE, MyZone PE, BUT DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT!
We caught up with Claire, a teacher at one of our partner Healthy Schools, who has started to use My Zone PE as children are returning to school, and she shares her thoughts with us here.
Claire discusses the return to school and how her school are managing with social distancing and keeping children safe. She also supports us with how her school are addressing the considerations that you may also be facing.
NEED EXTRA SUPPORT
School Life and PE is looking very different at the moment, should you need extra help, we are happy to support, our team of experts is on hand to answer any questions you may have, and we have released My Zone PE, a series of video activities that will support your delivery of PE at this time, and best of all it is Free of Charge to the end of the school year.
For parents looking for sporting activities for their kids during the summer holidays, we have also released Young Champions, to support development of sports skills at home, also free of charge until September.
You will be able to find more information of both services at .co.uk
Happy, Well Children!
The Amaven PE Team