Not just sitting in classes

We know obesity is a problem in our islands but we have teamed up with the Ministry for Health to introduce more initiatives that will help educate our people towards a healthier and more physically active lifestyle. 

The start of the new scholastic year will also be the start of a new nationwide physical education programme. This national programme across primary schools is being launched with the aim of improving physical literacy both in terms of quality and quantity. 

This physical education programme will be related to cross curricular physical education, such as PE/Maths, PE/English etc. This is a fresh approach to integrating core content in physical education. There is a great importance of teaching Physical Education with a purpose. By constantly integrating other subjects and by framing minds of students around their body, students can reinforce core content through movement. This can be achieved by using core subjects and building them into games and activities where fitness is a major component.

There are several opportunities to support core content in PE classes. This effort however, should not come at the expense of teaching physical education or by lowering the standards of PE lessons. The key is finding creative ways to emphasize the core material while keeping true to the goal of teaching the skills and concepts related to physical education.

Physical education can be a useful context to supplement and reinforce skills and understandings developed in other learning environments. By incorporating cross curricular programmes with physical education, we can greatly increase student motivation. Once we start merging the academic subjects with physical education, students can have a more stimulating process of learning.

Peripatetic PE teachers have prepared all the necessary resources. Sports incentive programmes will be introduced in some colleges, while at Form 2 level all students will now have an additional weekly physical education lesson. An additional 20 Physical Education teachers have been engaged for the upcoming scholastic year with every college having an additional peripatetic PE teacher. The ultimate result will be that of more frequent and better Physical Education lessons.

Physical Education standards are designed to help students through a sequence of experiences. PE lessons help health related physical fitness and provide students with the opportunity to build confidence and improve social behaviour. There are many benefits of Physical Education in school. Children are constantly developing both physically and emotionally and PE teachers need the help of parents to supplement activity lessons with the right dose of support to ensure that the child stays active.

The concept was piloted at Safi Primary School and it was a complete success. A number of workshops were carried out by physical education teachers during the last scholastic year. 

Children enjoyed the different approach to learning while teachers reported a higher engagement by students.

This programme is in line with the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity policy launched last February. It is part of our campaign to seriously address the problem of obesity, especially from a very young age. We are also launching a body mass index (BMI) survey and during the forthcoming scholastic year we hope to measure the weight and height of about 46,000 school children in Malta and Gozo.

When US First Lady Michelle Obama launched the campaign “Let’s Move” it was targeted at encouraging healthier food in schools and more physical activity for children. It might not have eliminated child obesity, but according to a CNN report in April of this year “signs of progress have emerged”.

The Malta Government knows that obesity is a problem in our islands but we have teamed up with the Ministry for Health to introduce more initiatives that will help educate our people towards a healthier and more physically active lifestyle.