Murgon students keeping active in the country
IEUA-QNT member, Claire Dennis, of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Murgon is coordinating a Health and Physical Education (HPE) program aimed at encouraging Indigenous children to participate in active sport and community programs with flow-on educational benefits.
Mrs Dennis said the program is designed to teach Murgon students to be healthy, safe and active.
She said St Joseph’s has a large Indigenous student population, with all children involved in the HPE program, from Prep to Year 6.
“Murgon is a rural area about 300km from Brisbane where students don’t always have the same opportunities as children in urban areas in terms of staying healthy,” she said.
Mrs Dennis said it is also about overcoming negative perceptions of young people not being active in rural areas, and building confidence in students to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
“Having a healthy body and mind is linked to positive learning and future academic success,” she said.
“Our HPE program is aligned with the Australian Curriculum and where possible our school tries to align with what is being covered in the health strand with the physical education strand, as the two are interwoven.
“Through team games and classroom activities a big part of what we aim to improve, particularly for our Indigenous students, is their own self-esteem, ability to make healthy and safe choices and build respectful relationships with others.”
She said visiting community programs and sporting club members also help encourage participation in physical activities outside of school.
“We also complement the HPE program with visits from sport representatives including PlayNRL and Queensland Cricket to help improve students’ motor and movement skills,” Mrs Dennis said.
“In addition, students are provided with access to the Sporting Schools Australia program which provides free physical activity one afternoon per week with qualified coaches.
“We are also a KidsMatter school and work with the You Can Do It program where students work on a weekly basis with our guidance counsellor learning values of persistence, organisation and resilience.
“These are great life skills for our students who may be experiencing mental health difficulties and need access to grass roots support networks.”
For more information about the program, visit www.sportingschools.gov.au
This article was extracted from the June 2016 edition of Independent Voice.