‘Physical education provides a way for children to deal with stress’

‘Physical education provides a way for children to deal with stress’

Article Written by: Naidine Sibanda – naidines@caxton.co.za

Learners at Rosebank Primary School learnt some great skills during their physical education (PE) lessons.

According to principal Leigh Shaw-Taylor, the lessons included tennis and soccer skills. She said the aim of the tennis lesson was to teach children to follow the tennis ball with their eyes so that their hands could follow the ball.

Shaw-Taylor added that this was the first time that many of the Grade 3 learners were learning how to hit a tennis ball.

She said the soccer skills lesson taught children to use both feet in a tick-tock drill.

Children had to shift the ball using one foot around cones. This taught them to control the soccer ball using both feet and they learnt how to pass and trap the ball.

During Covid-19, when extra­murals were put on hold and/or limited, the PE lessons provided an opportunity for great exercise and for developing motor skills in young children. PE provided a way for children to deal with the stress of having their normal school routine disrupted by the pandemic," she said.

Shaw-Taylor added that PE inspired self-discipline as it was a subject that taught life skills that were carried throughout life.

“Children have an opportunity to be a part of the team, allowing children to work together. Sporting activities create a way to relieve stress and we don’t often think of young children having to deal with stress the way that adults do.

“The change in the children’s normal routine was hugely disruptive and stressful for them and we saw the benefits that PE had in helping young children to cope with their stress.”

She continued, “It is an established scientific fact that regular exercise creates and releases serotonin which in turn helps alleviate stress, improves mood, and generally makes you feel better.”

Shaw-Taylor concluded that active children made better learners. “PE is a part of our curriculum, offered for an hour a week as part of the life skills curriculum.”