EXTRACURRICULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES IN ELEMENTARY ?· EXTRACURRICULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES IN ELEMENTARY…

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  • GOING THE HEALTHY ROUTE AT SCHOOL Framework Policy on Healthy Eating and Active Living

    7EXTRACURRICULAR PHYSICALACTIVITIES IN ELEMENTARYAND SECONDARY SCHOOLS

    PAMPHLET

    To encourage young people to be physically active on aregular basis, schools need to plan and offer physical andsports activities that correspond not only to students interestsand preferences, but also to their developmental stage. Atthe elementary level, extracurricular activities should refrainfrom early specialization and focus on providing a variety ofgames and opportunities for self-expression, cooperationand healthy competition. At the secondary level, extracur-ricular activities at lunchtime or after school should includemore than just competitive interscholastic and traditionalsports programs.

    This pamphlet is intended for elementary and secondaryschools who would like to offer a diverse selection of extra-curricular physical activities or improve the existing selection.The program offering should target not only students whoare already very active, but also those who are less active.

  • A. STUDENT INVOLVEMENT IN ACTIVITY SELECTION

    Allowing students of different age groups and from bothsexes (with different interests and tastes) to participate inthe selection of activities is a better way of helping tomeet their needs, particularly those who are less active.Below are some suggestions on how to involve studentsin the decision-making process:

    > Conduct a survey among students on activities theywould like to do.

    > Form an organizing committee composed of adults andstudents.

    > Analyze existing activities to highlight those that couldbe improved.

    > Promote activities through positive peer influence anduse committed young leaders as spokespersons.

    > Allow students to assume responsibility by promotingand leading activities, refereeing, lending equipment, etc.

    > Train older students to lead activities with youngerstudents, etc.

    In order to train students to organize and lead activ-ities, the Acti-midi program provides lunchtimetraining sessions and various other tools for adultswho work with elementary school students. Theprogram can also offer useful suggestions tosecondary school staff.www.sportetudiant.com/fre/isoActif/6303.cfm#activite%20physique

    B. ACTIVITIES THAT EMPHASIZE ENJOYMENT

    Laughter, sharing good times together, having fun, social-izing, relaxing, meeting a personal challengethese areall essential factors in getting the less active students hookedon regular physical activity. On the other hand, giving lessplaying time to players who dont excel at sports or placingtoo much emphasis on winning makes sports less enjoyableand often leads students to give up playing altogether.

    When planning activities, schools should includecooperative games that emphasize enjoymentand good sportsmanship. For example, kinball isa sport that requires the participation of allplayers. For more suggestions of activities, seethe enclosed tables.

    C. ACTIVITIES SPECIFICALLY GEARED TO GIRLS

    While 52% of boys engage in at least 60 minutes of phys-ical activity every day (the recommended minimum), only32% of girls do so.1 Schools must pay particular attentionto girls so that the physical activities offered correspondto their interests as well.

    The report Les filles cest pas pareil : rapport surla problmatique des jeunes filles et la pratiquede lactivit physique contains data on the levelof physical activity among girls, their attitudestowards physical activity, the sociological factorsthat lead them to persist in or drop out of anactivity, and suggestions and recommendationson how to improve it.www.kino-quebec.qc.ca/scolaire.asp

    The association gale action also providesresources and suggestions on how to increasephysical activity levels among girls.www.egaleaction.com

    2 GOING THE HEALTHY ROUTE AT SCHOOL Pamphlet 7 Extracurricular Physical Activities in Elementary and Secondary Schools

    1. B. Nolin, D. Hamel and P. Gamache, data to be published (Institut nationalde sant publique du Qubec, 2007).

  • 3GOING THE HEALTHY ROUTE AT SCHOOL Pamphlet 7 Extracurricular Physical Activities in Elementary and Secondary Schools

    D. CULTURAL, SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONALACTIVITIES THAT GET STUDENTS MOVING!

    Extra creativity is required to spark the interest of studentswho dont normally engage in physical activity and sports,and to help them develop new interests that will get themmoving. Incorporating physical activity into more compre-hensive projects is one way to reach less active students.

    For example:

    Organize a physical fitness program when pre-paring a trip or an expedition.

    Introduce students to circus arts by combiningphysical training, theatre and makeup arts.

    Organize social and educational activities, suchas discovering other cultures, by introducingaspects of physical activity that are specific toeach culture. For example, introduce studentsto African dance by combining the discovery ofAfrican cuisine with that of African culture.

    E. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES THAT TAKE INTOACCOUNT STUDENTS DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE

    The Physical Education and Health program, as well asthe Preschool Education program,2 contain informationon ways of developing extracurricular activities. The com-petencies developed in the Physical Education andHealth programPerforms, Interacts and Adopts a healthy,active lifestylerepresent principles that should be takeninto account when selecting lunchtime and after-schoolactivities. The Preschool Education program containssuggestions for activities to improve motor skills. Thesesuggestions can be used by daycare workers. Whateverthe educational levelbe it preschool, elementary schoolor secondary schoolthe objectives and types of activ-ities must correspond to the chronological and biologicalage of the students as well as to their levels of physicaland motor development.

    F. ACTIVITIES FOR LIFE

    There is no need to go over the immediate or futurebenefits of active living once again. As the Comit scien-tifique de Kino-Qubec stated in a brief entitledLactivit physique, dterminant de la sant des jeunes,teenagers who maintain a physically active lifestylethroughout adolescence will be in better physical shapeas adults and thus better able to complete in little timethe volume of physical activity required to benefit theirhealth.

    This brief by the Comit scientifique de Kino-Qubec, published in 2000, describes the effectsof physical activity on the health of young peo-ple, particularly their level of physical fitness,growth, lipid profile and mental health.www.kino-quebec.qc.ca/scolaire.asp

    The activities suggested should help young people developcompetencies and skills from the perspective of acquiringhealthy habits that are likely to continue for the rest oftheir lives.

    2. Qubec, Ministre de lducation, Qubec Education Program, PreschoolEducation, Elementary Education (Qubec: Gouvernement du Qubec, 2001)and Qubec, Ministre de lducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Qubec EducationProgram, Secondary School Education, Cycle One (Qubec: Gouvernementdu Qubec, 2004).

  • GOING THE HEALTHY ROUTE AT SCHOOL Framework Policy on Healthy Eating and Active Living

    G. JOINT EFFORTS

    Because gymnasiums are often very busy places, it mightbe necessary to make better use of the schoolyard (seePamphlets 5 and 6) as well as facilities around the school.Collaboration with the community (e.g. municipality, com-munity centre, private club) starts with an inventory ofequipment and services around the school to preventduplicating local services and to maximize the selection ofactivities offered.

    Community facilities can increase opportunities for youngpeople to be active. Partnership agreements can be ar-ranged to enable students to use neighbouring facilitiessuch as a pool or a skating rink at lunchtime.

    Schools can also work with municipalities to promoteactive transportation and ensure safe areas around theschool.

    Guides, resources and activities to encouragewalking or cycling to school are available at:Vlo-Qubec:www.velo.qc.ca/monecole/index_e.lassoGo for Green: www.goforgreen.ca/home_e.html

    Sharing human resources can also be an interesting solu-tion. Monitors and facilitators employed by municipalitiescould share their time with schools. In addition, severalassociations, clubs and federations provide turnkey pro-grams to schools (e.g. kinball) or have adapted teachingguides (e.g. mini-tennis). These organizations could alsopartner up with schools to organize extracurricular activities.Community volunteers, such as parents, can also helpoptimize the selection of activities offered.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONSULT: MELSwww.mels.gouv.qc.ca

    26-0003A

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