Let's get physical - exercise for mental health


Monday 24 September, 2018

Dandenong South Primary School students

Exercise has many benefits, not only for your physical health but also your mental health. Exercise can boost mood, concentration and alertness. Dandenong South Primary School has recently received recognition in their first health priority area of physical activity, which has not only improved access for their staff and students to participate in physical activities, but also assists in achieving greater levels of wellbeing.

A whole school approach was taken to increase opportunities for students and staff to be active. The first step was to create and improve the spaces for physical activity on the school grounds such as upgrading the soccer oval. A simple change such as the gymnasium being made available during wet weather days has provided another space for the students to play and be physically active. 

The school has encouraged students to be responsible for their own physical activity journey. Lunchtime sporting competitions are completely run by the students and everyone can be involved either by playing, umpiring, scoring, time-keeping or coaching. The staff and students are proud of this initiative as it has encouraged students to get active, but has also created leadership opportunities as students have total responsibility for the games. 

The school has fostered strong community partnerships to extend their students physical activity opportunities. For example, the school has worked with local sporting clubs to gain access to their facilities to offer additional sports such as cross country and an athletic carnival. They have also worked with local sporting groups to support students to play sport such as soccer and football outside school hours. 

Teachers are now including physical activity during learning time, in another initiative that has been embraced by students. Either by incorporating physical activity as part of the lesson or simply by going outside for a quick activity break during class time. Brent Van Rooyen, PE Coordinator said, “Both staff and students have benefited from this change. Staff members have noticed that students are more focused in class after a physical activity break, whilst students enjoy being outside and their mood improves.” 

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