“Rain, hail or shine, fitness and sport go ahead at Lansvale Public School. An array of covered play areas and the school hall come into their own in bad weather, so the children can burn off energy and maintain the school’s busy program.
With three 20-minute fitness sessions a week, one class a week of physical education and one session of sport, Lansvale is meeting the Department of Education’s weekly target of at least two hours of physical exercise.
But almost a third of government schools in the state have failed to meet that target, the NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, has found.
In a report released yesterday, Mr Achterstraat found fewer than 40 per cent of year four students have mastered fundamental movement skills, girls are less active than boys and activity drops dramatically in winter.
With rapidly rising obesity, diabetes and heart disease, it is critical to keep children active for their health and to ward off the cost to communities and the economy, Mr Achterstraat said.
A group of stage three children – years five and six – at Lansvale were happy to demonstrate some games they play at school, and run off a list of other favourites.
”We need more people to play more games like bull rush,” Justin Nguyen said. During recess and lunch he plays table tennis with friends.
A year ago, Justin was a shy, introverted pupil. His teacher, Pia Maturana, took a small group of boys last year and worked on developing their social skills through sport and physical activity.
”For the majority, they were then able to sustain and develop outside the academic world. It teaches them to share and to work together and those skills can be transferred back into the classroom.” With all her students, she finds that after a stint of activity they are calmer and more willing to learn…….”