Bushwalking and bowls in schools: we need to teach kids activities they’ll go on to enjoy



Schools could use bushwalking as an activity and link it to lessons in other subjects such as geography and science.
Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

Vaughan Cruickshank, University of Tasmania; Brendon Hyndman, Charles Sturt University, and Shane Pill, Flinders University

Physical education is one of the most popular subjects for children in their early school years. Yet by secondary school less favourable attitudes towards what’s known in the Australian school curriculum as Health and Physical Education (HPE) can start to creep in.

By adulthood, the mention of HPE brings on both pleasant (for those who enjoyed HPE at school or completed HPE activities well) and unpleasant memories (those who suffered embarrassment, bullying or injuries).




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Teenagers who play sport after school are only 7 minutes more active per day than those who don’t


These attitudes towards HPE are important as early life experiences can be linked to our health later on. Adults with positive memories of HPE are more likely to be physically active throughout their lives.

That’s why we need to get students hooked on a range of activities they don’t give up on and can enjoy doing for many years after they leave school.

Exercise for our health

One of the major focuses of any HPE program in schools is to develop movement skills and physical activity in young people. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says physical activity is vital to improve mental, social and physical health, as well as preventing diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Lifestyle diseases are likely to be an increasing problem in Australia due to the projected increase in the percentage of the population aged 65 years and over.

For this reason, a high-quality HPE program early on at school that provides opportunities for students to experience a range of activities they can engage in later in life is important.

This can prepare students for the skills needed for lifelong engagement in physical activity and to lead active and healthy lives.

Our activities change as we age

The activities with the highest participation by Australians of different age groups are shown in the table below. These findings show some obvious differences between age groups.

The Conversation/Authors.
Clearinghouse for Sport, CC BY-ND

School-aged students participate in more team-based activities. Often these involve physical contact and/or require speed and agility. Participation rates in these activities decrease substantially after the age of 35.

Playing soccer is popular among the 5 to 11 age group, but participation falls as people get older.
Flickr/, CC BY-NC-ND

Australians aged 65 and over mainly participate in less intense aerobic activities. Seven of the top 10 (walking, golf, cycling, bowls, yoga, bush walking and pilates) activities for the 65-plus age group do not even make the top 10 for school-aged Australians.

Giving students increased access to these activities might assist schools in meeting UNESCO’s challenge to help young people develop lifelong participation in physical activity.

Teach them healthy habits when they’re young

Some school HPE and outdoor education programs are likely to include a few of these activities listed for the adult age groups.

But the crowded curriculum and specific HPE time allocations can be a problem. Teachers often don’t have time to cover these activities in enough detail to really hook students in. That means students don’t get to the point where they want to make these activities a permanent part of their movement tool kit.

Busy schools should consider integrating aerobic activities into other subject areas. For example, an excursion to a local park or reserve for bushwalking or orienteering could be linked with geography and science. It could also help inspire writing tasks in English or measurement tasks in maths.

Teachers could be encouraged to use class breaks for short yoga sessions. Yoga and pilates could be offered at lunchtime, either with a teacher, posters and signs, or via an app projected on a screen.

Doing a web search for your location and activities (for example, “golf/bowls/bushwalking clubs near me”) will help schools find nearby clubs to connect students with. Schools could invite club staff or volunteers to come to talk to the students and run practical sessions.

Being aware of local recreational clubs and organisations and the opportunities they provide (such as barefoot bowls nights), as well as websites where they can get more information (bushwalking trails), will make it easier for students to engage with these activities.

Barefoot bowls appeals to many different age groups.
Flickr/Josh McGuiness, CC BY-NC-ND

Engaged students are active and healthy for life

So we need to make sure students are provided with enough choice in activities.




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Our ‘sporting nation’ is a myth, so how do we get youngsters back on the field?


Improved choice for students within HPE programs allows them to discover activities that provide appropriate levels of challenge for them to be able to overcome and achieve for overall enjoyment.

Evidence suggests that providing such a mastery climate in school HPE and junior sport can help students feel high levels of competence in their physical abilities. This then assists with students’ individual motivations to be physically active.The Conversation

Teach children to enjoy yoga at an early age and it will stay with them as they age.
Flickr/Mike Bull, CC BY-NC

Vaughan Cruickshank, Program Director – Health and Physical Education, Maths/Science, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania; Brendon Hyndman, Senior Lecturer & Course Director of Postgraduate Studies in Education, Charles Sturt University, and Shane Pill, Associate Professor in Physical Education and Sport, Flinders University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Australia: Queensland – Land Clearing


The link below is to an article that reports on land clearing activities in Queensland and offers you a way to participate in protests against it.

For more visit:
http://support.wwf.org.au/landclearing.html

Blackbutt Reserve


Kevin's Daily Photo, Video, Quote or Link

Since I was unable to visit Gap Creek Falls the other day, I decided I might pop in to have a look at the new animal enclosures at Blackbutt Reserve near Newcastle. I will say straight off the bat that I do have something of a prejudice against Blackbutt Reserve, as I see the place as nothing like a natural bush setting, it being far too ‘corrupted’ by human activity, weeds and the like. Having said that it is a good place for a family or group outing/event. It certainly has its place, but it is not a true nature reserve (in my opinion).

Visitor Centre

ABOVE: Visitor Centre

I do think that some well designed animal and bird enclosures at Blackbutt could lift the value of the reserve dramatically and make it a really great place for families, especially young families. There are opportunities for educational visits for kids, possible environmental…

View original post 182 more words

Madagascar: Ankeniheny-Zahamena Reserve Under Threat from Sapphire Mining


One of Madagascar’s newest reserves is already being threatened by illegal mining activities. 

For more visit:
http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0723-sapphire-mining-madagascar.html

Article: Democratic Republic of Congo – Massacre


The link below is to a disturbing report of a massacre at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Six people were killed and 13 endangered Okapi were slaughtered by Mai Mai Simba Rebels in retaliation for anti-poaching and illegal mining activities inside the reserve.

For more visit:
http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0629-okapi-massacre.html

Earth Day: April 22


Earth Day is about the earth and the people who live on it. The Earth Day Network believes that all people, no matter who they are, have a right to a healthy and sustainable environment. Those who support Earth Day are a veritable who’s who of environmentalism. The network not only educates and increases awareness of environmental issues, it also actively seeks to bring about change in order to achieve a healthy and sustainable environment.

Earth Day is celebrated on the 22nd April each year, with supporters getting involved in all manner of environmentally responsible activities.

Find out more about Earth Day and the Earth Day Network at:

http://www.earthday.org/

NSW Road Trip 2010: Packing & Getting Ready


It is now the day prior to the NSW Road trip 2010. I have begun packing and getting ready for the journey that lies ahead. I don’t expect to be taking a lot of gear, as I won’t be doing a lot of cooking, washing, etc, on this trip.

I have learnt that it is important to not assume that you have everything you need and then find out the day before that you may not – I already knew this of course, but having recently moved, I no longer have everything that I once did. For example, I do not presently have a sleeping bag. I got rid of the last one because it was old and smelly, and I planned to buy another. But a lot has happened since mid 2007 when I packed to move – including a near fatal car accident that put my purchasing plans well and truly on hold, and they then slipped into the area of my mind that ‘forgets.’

So now I have no sleeping bag – but that isn’t too important as I don’t believe I really need one this time round. It is a road trip, with several cabin stops along the way and only caravan parks with powered sites for the rest. I will take a couple of blankets should I need them (which I don’t believe I will – it will be quite hot in the outback this time of year).

Of course it is not just the sleeping bag that is missing. I am also missing a fly cover for the tent, but thankfully I had two tents so I’m OK there. There are a number of other items missing also, but I don’t really need them this time round. Thankfully I have spotted all this now, which means I can plan to purchase what I need for future adventures, back pack camping, etc. I had of course planned to buy these items, but with the passing of time I forgot.

Anyhow, the packing is under way and I just hope I don’t forget something I wish I had packed when I am on the journey. I’m relatively sure I haven’t – which isn’t to say That I have forgotten something.

What I’d like to remember – and tomorrow I’ll know for sure if I have – is how I packed the car, so that everything was easily accessible. I was fairly well organised for this sort of thing when I was doing it fairly regularly several years ago – but it has been a while. Minimal gear wisely packed, without leaving anything necessary behind – that’s the key for this type of journey and vacation.

This will be the first time however, that I have a bag dedicated to my online activities – laptop, digital camera, web cam, flash drives, etc. I hope to keep an accurate and useful journal online at the kevinswilderness.com website, with photos, comments, route map, etc. So this is a ‘new’ bag that I need to organise in the overall scheme of things.

Anyhow, packing is now underway and coming to a conclusion. The journey will soon kick off.