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Specialist kids’ programs: We learn why PE and fitness are so important to a child’s well-being

Physical education is an important component of every day of teaching and learning at Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS). To find out why, we spoke with school principal Juliet Cooper.

What role does fitness play at MSIS?

The health and fitness programmes at MSIS are designed to meet the various physical needs of our students across all age groups, giving them the opportunity to participate in physical activities that will allow them to develop lifelong fitness habits. We modify our physical activities so that our students, regardless of age and ability, achieve a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction. Students who are physically active have been found to cope better with stress and anxiety, suffer less from depression, and show improvements in behaviour and academics.
 

 

What sort of activities do the students take part in?

Physical education is taught from the early years to the transition years. In the early years, students learn through games how to take turns and follow instructions. Through the sessions at our Sky Gym, the children can also learn and practice basic stretches and exercises. Students in the foundation and pathways sub-schools, meanwhile, learn skills from a number of sports, including soccer, basketball and football.
 

 

And swimming and cycling also feature prominently?

Yes. Our aquatic programme is an engaging experience that is aimed at developing physical, social and cognitive skills in a safe and enjoyable environment. Students are given the opportunity and support to build confidence in the pool and gain respect for the water as they participate in water familiarisation, stroke development, and safety and survival activities. During swimming sessions, the main focus is on developing independence, exploring and moving through the water, active participation, developing water confidence and learning water-safety skills.

Bike education is important, too. The ability to ride a bike offers different benefits for different students: all of them can experience the physical benefits, which include stronger muscles, postural control, endurance, balance and motor-planning; and bike-riding with family and friends is also an inclusive recreational activity, and great fun – these are important social benefits. For many of our students, a bike is also a means of transport that gives  them access to the community.
 

 

Two MSIS parents reflect on the school and its fitness and other programmes:

“We moved to Singapore from Texas 14 months ago; our 17-year-old daughter attends MSIS. It took us a year to find the school, and we love the fact that it offers technology, along with so many other important areas for students to grow and learn, including swimming, cycling and gym. We believe that our child is finally able to participate in these events in an atmosphere that is caring and non-judgemental. Our daughter especially loves the Sky Gym, which allows her to practise healthy lifestyle activities. From the way she happily reviews the daily timetable, to watching her hop off the bus with a huge smile after school every day, we know our daughter is very happy at MSIS. That feeling, along with being included in the growing process of MSIS, makes us, as parents, feel very proud to be a part of the school.”
– Ed and Terry LaTouf

“We’re from New Zealand – we moved here from Japan. Our 16-year-old daughter attends MSIS (our other children have graduated), and we knew it was the right environment for her when she came home after her first ‘trial’ day and said that it felt like a big family – without the sisterly arguments! To use her turn of phrase, she was ‘chomping at the bit’ to start at MSIS. She enjoys the caring environment, the academic work, the gym and swimming programmes, music classes with Uncle Mo, and the opportunity to get work experience at The Pantry on Monday afternoons. In the time she has been at the school we have watched her confidence grow, and her ability to adapt to situations and read feedback from others has improved; best of all, her self-esteem is returning. We couldn’t be happier!”
Gil Bate

 

Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) is located at 75C Loewen Road, Dempsey Hill, 6634 8891

 

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