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Hextable Primary School

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Keeping children active during COVID-19

Blue circle with Hextable Primary School written in yellow. Inside the circle is a green tree and yellow butterfly. Three words are written in yellow on a blue background underneath the circle - positive, happy, successful.Our school

Our school, a three-form entry primary school in Hextable, Swanley, has always been passionate about inclusive sport and providing all children, no matter their background, with the opportunity to participate in competitions, tournaments and worthwhile PE lessons. We have a Year 6 ‘Sports Crew’ who run, with the help of a keen committee of teachers, inter-house sporting opportunities for the whole school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put many things in place that have enabled the children to stay active.

Keeping active at school

From March 2020 to June 2020, the children of key worker parents still attended school. Exercise was our priority and key focus in the mornings, to get our body and mind motivated and ready for the day ahead. The children participated in activities ranging from Joe Wicks workouts, Just Dance, ‘The Daily Mile’, orienteering, riding bikes and scooters and yoga bingo; a game led by the teachers whereby the children had to hold a Yoga pose and the first person to tick off all of those written down was the winner! Teachers even joined in too, being led by the older children and had lots of fun!

Montage of three photos. The left photo is a young girl stretching by lying on the floor with her knees pulled up to her chest. The middle photo is a group of 4 children on a grass field walking in a circle on their hands and feet. The right photo is two girls riding scooters across a tarmac school playground.

How did the children stay active at home?

We were aware of the challenges faced with teaching PE to those learning from home. How would we encourage healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle? How would we keep the children motivated and active? Teachers made sure when setting project-based learning for the children to do at home, that they were always incorporating active and outdoor learning and provided opportunities for children to learn about the importance of a healthy diet. For example, asking them to show us evidence of how they helped to prepare the family meal! We also shared many links with parents such as Cosmic Yoga, Joe Wicks workouts, Yorkshire Sport mini lessons and one of our teachers even set some challenges for the children to complete and shared these via Twitter! We will definitely continue to use these virtual resources when we return to school full-time as children who are usually reluctant to participate in PE at school have engaged really well with these. Our PE leader regularly engaged with parents, asking what the children were doing to stay active whilst at home.

Parents have also reported:

  • going on long hikes and dog walks with the children
  • playing a family version of boys V girls football
  • two year 3 boys have been virtually scoring goals against each other on video calls
  • some have been riding bikes up and down the garden to accumulate miles
  • a child in reception has even managed to run 2km!

These have been rewarded with certificates and Twitter shout-outs by class teachers.

Montage of 8 photos of children being active. Three photos are children riding bicycles, two are children walking in the countryside, one is a child following a video workout in front of a TV, one is a child jumping on a trampoline in a garden and one is a family playing in their garden..

Now that some year groups have returned

Now that EYFS, year 1 and year 6 have returned to school and bubbles of children are needing to socially distance, we have taken advantage of our ‘zone’ of the day and conducted many of our lessons outside. This has ranged from sports day type activities, as of course sports day will not be able to take place this year, scavenger hunts and orienteering and making regular use of our Daily Mile track. We have frequently been using the bikes and scooters and have conducted ‘socially distanced’ ball games and PE lessons where we set the children the challenge of not being able to touch equipment with their hands, encouraging them to find other ways to pass to one another. Children also still take part in virtual PE lessons from Yorkshire Sport and keep fit on ‘Just Dance’.

Advice for other PE leaders

Our school’s key piece of advice on how to keep children active during the pandemic would be to do SOMETHING every day, even if it’s something small. Keeping active doesn’t just need to just include traditional sports; gardening, going for long walks or making obstacle tracks for your bike in the garden are all just as valuable towards staying active! Doing a little bit every day is so beneficial for everyone’s mental and physical health, even if it’s just running round the garden finding items that have been hidden. The possibilities are endless!