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Health and physical education in schools

This topic provides information about Health and Physical Education in schools.

Principles for health and physical education in schools

Health is a dynamic process. Those, who participate in regular physical activities, improve their health and the state of well-being. Participation of all children in free play, informal and formal games, yoga and sports activities is essential for their physical and psycho-social development. As a result of games, sports and yoga, a range of abilities such as stamina, fine and gross motor skills and dexterities, self-awareness and control, and coordination in team games will improve. Simple adaptation of playgrounds, equipment and rules can make activities and games accessible to all children in the school. Children can achieve high levels of excellence in sports, athletics, gymnastics, yoga and performing arts such as dance.

Emphasis must be on enjoyment and fitness, when the emphasis shifts from enjoyment to achievement, such training can make demands of discipline and practice that can create stress at the school stage. So, all students must be involved in health and physical education activities, however, those who choose to excel in games and sports need to be provided adequate opportunities. Physical development supports mental and cognitive development, especially in young children. The capacity to think, reason and make sense of the self and the world, and to use language, is intimately connected with acting and interacting - doing things by oneself and with others is the precondition for all development and healthy physical growth of all children. This requires that the basic needs in terms of adequate nutrition, physical exercise and other psycho-social needs are addressed.

NCERT Guidelines for Schools

  • Every school need to offer health and physical education as a compulsory subject from classes I-X.
  • One period per day need to be allocated in the time table for this area Health and Physical Education for every class from I-X.
  • Health and Physical Education includes Health, Physical Education, sports and yoga.
  • Formally, yogic activities need to be introduced from class VI onwards
  • More emphasis should be given on practice related to Physical Education activities.
  • All schools should have minimum space for playgrounds and equipment.
  • In case space is not available, school can utilize the space available in the community. However, given the safety concerns, it need to be ensured that the place is nearby and safe.
  • All children need to be involved in free play in formal and informal games, yoga and sports activities for physical and psycho-social development.
  • While organising games, sports, yoga and other activities, safety and security of the children need to be ensured.
  • All Physical education related activities - Sports, games, yoga need to be organised under the guidance and supervision of teachers (physical education or other teachers).
  • First Aid Box to be kept available and ready with fresh medicines and ointments. Students need to be given orientation and practise on using First Aid Box
  • School must have linkages to the nearby Primary Health Centre and Hospital.
  • Advocacy activities for the health and physical education to be organised at the school level at regular interval (e.g. Parent teacher meeting, annual day function, school management committee meeting, etc.).
  • This subject needs to be given equal status with other subjects. Criteria need to be developed for assessing and ensuring progress in learning in this area by the school.
  • In view of developing this area as a discipline gradually and to develop knowledge about the importance of this area and practices, theory components (Keeping in view age appropriateness) have been introduced since the primary stage in the NCERT's Health and Physical Education Syllabus. However, theory component has very less space in comparison to practical.
  • Upto primary stage, since the focus is on paractical aspect, services of any teachers teaching other subject areas can be utilized for taking health and physical education.
  • From upper primary till secondary stage, Physical Education Teacher may be employed on part time basis however willing teachers of other subject areas may continue conducting activities under Health and Physical Education.

Useful Resources

  1. NCERT syllabus on Health and Physical Education - Class I to X
  2. NCERT publications on Health and Physical Education

Source: Health and Physical Education - Guidelines for schools

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