One of the most important responsibilities that schools have in South Africa is to give learners a strong foundation on which to build a full and active life. I hold a Diploma in Sport Development and Management and I’ve been fortunate enough in my short sports career to have worked with different schools that have Physical Education as a subject. I’ll be bold enough and say only the private schools treat Physical Education as an important subject in school. There are government schools though who try, considering they have no budget at all and equipment.

Physical education is good for a students physically, mentally and socially. It prevents laziness in class because the brain works better. It reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many other diseases. It also promotes bone and muscle growth. It promotes healthy social interactions as children learn to cooperate through group activities.

Myself and former classmates in Howick to teach kids about Physical Activities

Some students and teachers had this to say:
“Students should understand that not taking proper care of their body can and will result in an unhealthy life and life style that could follow them for the rest of their lives. Schools all across the nation are full of obese children. The parents should be informed on their children’s physical health just as well as their academic stance.”
“PE is not only about playing sport but develops many other factors that most do not think of. For instance how many other subjects are there that encourage teamwork, developing social skills, encouraging people to work with people outside of their peer groups. One could say simulating that of the working world. It maintains motor development, promoting health a fitness for a long life health and & lifestyle choice”.

SuperSport Let’s Play project

Not every student comes from a home that follows health and fitness routines.

Physical education education empowers students to develop positive attitudes towards physical and lifelong habits of participation. It engages them in the ongoing development of the knowledge, understanding, skills and values to participate in healthy physical activity.

Physical education should:
• Equip students for lifelong participation in physical activity, through the development of movement skills and movement competence, health related fitness and sport
• Teach students that movement skills, sport and physical activity can play an important part in everyone’s life
• Make students aware that everyone has the ability to participate in a healthy and healthy lifestyle.

In government schools Physical Education finds itself in a situation in which it is generally being taught by a class teacher and no longer by a specialist Physical Education teacher. So below we will differentiate between Physical Activity and Physical Education.

Continental Tyres sponsored innovative physical education project

Physical Activity
•Any bodily movement that involves physical exertion. A physical activity program gets you up and moving, in some form. This can include recreational sports, fitness classes, after-school programs and recess.
•Physical activity is unstructured. Kids can make their own choices and create their own rule.
•Helpful for learning social skills and problem solving techniques

Some of the things that count as physical activities:
•Dancing
•Doing push-ups
•Playing cricket, throwing balls at each other, football, rugby, tennis etc
•Playing tag at recess

Physical activity is one part of a physical education program but physical activity can be found in many areas outside of physical education.

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Physical Education
Curriculum based program that teaches students the benefits of physical activity, builds techniques for leading an active lifestyle, and promotes lifelong healthy habits.
A physical education program not only gets children moving, but also teaches them why that activity is important, what types of activity benefit your body, and how you can stay active throughout your life.

•Students are taught how to play and skills needed to play.
•Students learn the rules for how to play games and participate.
•There is a structured warm-up and cool down
•Physical education teaches children the importance of being physically active and about the human body and body systems.

Physical education programs include:
•A written curriculum, with clear objectives
•Some form of grading or assessment
•Physical activity for most of the class time
•Lessons in ways to lead a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, nutrition, fitness, and social responsibility.
•Physical education incorporates physical activity, along with many other things, to form a complete program.

Benefits of Physical Activity:
•Reduces risk for diabetes, obesity, depression, and heart disease.
•Children respond to cognitive tasks faster and with greater accuracy after a session of physical activity.

Benefits of Physical Education:
•Teaches safe and correct exercise techniques.
•Promotes good nutrition and understanding of the body.
•Encourages lifelong health habits, decreases chances of unhealthy adult lifestyle.

I was tired on this day so I played referee in this tennis match Varsity College Westville

We would also like to give thanks to Spark organisation for playing a big part on this article.