Everyone wishes to live a long life, full of adventure and activity.
To truly value our amazing bodies, not for how they look, but for the incredible things they are capable of, brings pleasure to this adventure
and activity. Someone who cherishes their physical health will have a
deep understanding of how their body works. They will listen to their body, respond to how it feels, and learn from their daily movements. In respecting their body like this, they will develop a confidence to try new things, a commitment to self-care, and a competence to master any movement they choose. Our physical journey through life will have its highs, and its lows, both impacting on our emotional wellbeing. To steadily scale the mountain of life, we will depend on motivation, resilience and fortitude. Providing all children (of any age) with the opportunity to play and explore, lays the foundation for this life of adventure. Building on
their love of movement, with specific teaching of basic movement skills,
in a variety of environments, develops confidence in their body’s abilities. Fostering a love of movement, and a respect for their abilities, drives
them to learn more about their bodies. Truly understanding their bodies, encourages a life-long commitment to participation and the motivation
to enhance their life with healthy activities. Later, this has an impact on future generations, and if we do this well, a world where everyone moves competently and proficiently, with no end goal in sight.
See all our Healthy Movement lessons plans in the CHP Academy
How can teachers encourage ‘Healthy Movement’?
‘Healthy Movement’ extends beyond your Physical Education curriculum. It’s about a child’s physical experience of school life, and throughout their whole day. From their travel to school to their travel home and how we encourage movement at home as well. Here are some recommendations for ‘Healthy Movement’ in a child’s day, and how teachers can have an impact on children’s health and wellbeing with movement:
On wake up
Encourage the pupils in your class to foster a morning routine – a few stretches, some energetic star jumps, calming yoga – anything that initiates movement in their day and makes them feel positive.
Travel to school
Travel to school depends on parent’s needs more than children’s. If it has to be in the car, they could park a little further away and still pace their way through the front gate. If not, a variety of movement to and from school could be encouraged by the children sharing what movement they’ve done that morning by logging this when they get into school/with the register etc. And all children at Primary age can carry their bags and coats to school…
Clubs on the playground/in the school hall – breakfast club with a movement element. Something to get the body moving and for the children to feel confidence in the start of their day.
High Quality Physical Education programme with broad and rich learning about their bodies and how they interact with their minds. A variety of experiences but lots of physical challenge. These lessons should be as cognitively challenging as any classroom lesson, but with the fascination factor of what their bodies can do. All staff in the lesson in clothes suitable to moving with the children, and the adults acting as healthy movement role models. Much more on this in future blog posts!
Lessons do not have to take place seated. Active learning is encouraging, and fun for the children. Using Captain Kinetic© in other lessons to link to holistic health – how movement can help us retain information, keep us engaged and how our healthy bodies will be nourished with movement is crucial to achievement and attainment in school.
‘Playleaders’ was just the start. Zone the playground, allow for variety – stretching space, calm yoga/pilates/dance moves, space to walk and talk, physical challenge with objects, games to encourage social learning and development, and one day, a whole team of adults who join in with children’s play and again, act as healthy role models to the pupils. Healthy Movement mentors act as role models for those pupils who are starting to find joy in movement.
Trips and visits
Try not to save your physically challenging trips and visits for the end-of-school residential. These types of challenge can happen more regularly as part of a physical and mental resilience programme. We challenge you to include opportunities on land, in water, on snow and in the air to provide dynamic experiences to enrich their Physical Literacy. Add sporting events and competitions for ALL pupils to this concept.
This isn’t a question of just making sure you cater for the main games which lead to competitions. It’s asking the children – what do you want to learn about, experience and try? Invite local clubs to make pathways for additional physical activity outside of school, and a chance for pupils to excel in individual activities. The school clubs children are offered may be the only chance to enrich their healthy movement and help them try new activities later in life.
In every PE lesson, we ask the pupils what they could be doing outside of school to practise the skills they’ve learnt; how they could develop their knowledge of movement and their bodies; and how they can further nourish their bodies and minds with movement. Keeping this conversation alive is crucial in the Primary school classroom.
Encourage the children to think about which muscles they’ve used that day, how those muscles feel, and whether they need support to repair. A little bedtime stretch routine, breathing into tight muscles and tense/relax activities can help children to pay attention to their physical needs and to care for themselves.
See other classroom resources and tips for health and wellbeing in the CHP Academy
Lesson plans in The Children’s Health Project Scheme of Work
We believe movement for a Primary aged pupil should be regular, dynamic and diverse. Our Healthy Movement unit supplements your Physical Education offer, broadening the skillset of pupils and teachers, and deepening the children’s value and desire for kinetic activity. We’d like teachers to encourage children to focus on what their bodies can DO rather than how they LOOK. We approach Healthy Movement with ten topics:
Fundamental Movement Skills
Children develop all categories of FMS – Body Management; Locomotors and Object Control Skills. Ideally the children will experience these through ‘play’ at this young age. If they can combine some of the skills, it may be worthwhile.
See a sample lesson plan from our Fundamental Movement Skills topic
Agility, Balance and Co-ordination
Agility is the ability to move easily in a variety of ways, but also to respond to prompts to change the movement. It’s a skill that requires mental and physical dedication. Practising agility tasks can help the children feel more alert and responsive. Balance – the ability to maintain the centre of mass over the base of support. Children should be able to make postural adjustments to maintain posture and stability – both automatically, and in a variety of positions and activities. You can have both static and dynamic balance, and it can always be supported by ‘grounding’ – touching something stationary to stabilise the body. Co-ordination – The ability to use different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently. One of the most important fundamentals in a child’s movement programme
Children spend a lot of time sitting down. Not only can this tighten their hip flexors, it also causes them to lose strength in their posterior chain of muscles (their hamstrings, gluteus muscles and back muscles). Movement breaks like these help to activate these muscles and encourage more mobility. These movement breaks are great for children’s brain activity – they encourage healthy movement of information within the brain, and stimulate the children’s attention spans.
These activities encourage children to develop their fine (use of small muscles) and gross (use of large muscles) motor skills. We think fine and gross motor skills combined will give them more confidence to take on new sports/ activities for a healthy lifestyle We also know that the development of fine motor skills encourages healthy habits – like using a knife and fork, getting themselves dressed, drawing and writing, and exploring items from the small world. Practising a variety of fine motor skill activities will challenge the children, just as it would challenge any of us! The key is in variety.
An opportunity to have fun whilst developing physical fitness! This should not form your complete approach to physical education – it’s one small, fun part. These activities raise the heart rate, promote dynamic movement, challenge the children’s strength, speed and power and educate children as to how to improve their physical fitness. During these sessions, it’s important to teach the children that they should feel out of breath, their legs will ache, they’ll sweat, and their hearts will beat faster than normal. Many children feel uncomfortable with these sensations, if they have no prior understanding.
We believe there is a difference between ‘dance’ and ‘creative movement’, and prefer to emphasise ‘creative movement’ in order for children to explore their body’s movement patterns, the space around them, and a suggested theme. Allowing the children time for pure exploration of movement at the beginning of the session is important both for them and you. They benefit from creative thinking and moving their muscles and joints. You benefit from observing their unique thoughts and ideas, allowing you to suggest ways to develop their movements.
Children move most naturally when they are playing. Play helps to develop Physical Literacy in providing children opportunity for having fun whilst moving, and for the body to develop sub-conscious movement patterns. Movement patterns that challenge the children’s core muscles surrounding their spine support full body functional movement, which will help them with everyday movement and strength to counteract sitting all day.
Strength, Speed and Power
The strength activities in these lessons focus on the children’s core and upper body strength. They will need to use their core to help them stay in a variety of static and dynamic positions, and their lower and upper body to stabilise themselves and to move. The speed and power sections force the children’s nervous system to react quickly to prompts and exert force with their muscles to complete a movement. The focus should be on the quality of the movement as opposed to the quantity.
Stamina and Endurance
Stamina can be described as the amount of time muscles can work at their maximum capacity. A sprinter works on stamina – running as fast as possible over a specific distance. Endurance can be described as the amount of time muscles can work, regardless of the capacity. A long- distance runner would work on endurance – they may want to run as far as possible, regardless of their speed. The constant moving in these activities develop endurance.
Flexibility and Mobility
When we say ‘flexibility’ we are considering the length of a muscle, so these exercises will lengthen muscle (‘stretching’ it). When we say ‘mobility’, we are considering how a joint moves, so these movement patterns promote healthy movement in the joints.
See all health and wellbeing lesson plans in the CHP Academy
Captain Kinetic© inspires ‘Healthy Movement’ and links movement to holistic health
Captain Kinetic© is inquisitive in play, confident in daily movement, and ambitious when challenged. Having developed a wide range of movement skills, he strives for success in all arenas, yet is resilient to defeat with his supple attitude. He’s a brave competitor, who admires his rivals and challenges with a smile. He sees varied terrain as an opportunity to climb and scramble, trusting his body to support his appetite for adventure. A role model to others, he uplifts his team. Balancing sport with creativity, he enjoys a range of activities, and never says no to a new challenge. He goes to sleep naturally exhausted, enthusiastic to traverse tomorrow’s encounters.
Please note: You need a license to use Captain Kinetic© in your school, which comes with membership to the CHP Academy
Regardless of whether you use The Children’s Health Project resources, our Health Champions© or the movement lesson plans from the Scheme of Work in your school, you can encourage better movement in school. Keep the concept of Physical Literacy at heart of your movement programmes in school, remembering that movement education is for life – it could be a major part of keeping children healthy, happy, social and entertained, perhaps even employed, later in life. We develop a huge number of ‘soft skills’ in movement activities, but a school’s movement philosophy and ethos should not be based solely on Games, Dance, Gymnastics, Athletics, OAA and Swimming.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on what ‘healthy movement’ is to you, and how you develop this in school. Please comment below, or on our social media posts.
We’ve added eight (four EYFS/KS1 and four KS2) of our Healthy Movement lessons plans to our free CHP Academy, to help those at school, or in isolation during this challenging time. Let us know how you get on!