Schools across Victoria have had many ‘firsts’ as they’ve adapted to remote learning in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One school has been inspiring its 480 students, staff and families to keep active and healthy, with the innovative development of a physical activity app.
Silverton Primary School in Noble Park North wanted to transform its physical education lessons to the at-home environment. Silverton’s physical education teacher, Mark Blundell, said the idea spawned from the desire to make PE lessons accessible to everyone, of all abilities, in their school community.
“We wanted to encourage students to get up and away from their computers. Our app’s intention was to encourage children to get outside and chose what type of physical activity they wanted to do in their dedicated sport time,” Mr Blundell said.
The app provided fun activities which saw students get their heart rate up through dancing, jumping or skipping; improving their hand-eye coordination with an array of ball sports such as basketball, soccer, cricket, netball and AFL; and engaged children in exciting challenges sparking healthy competition with fellow schoolmates and to achieve personal bests.
Gianluca, a student at Silverton Primary, rose to the occasion when it came to the challenges and enjoyed getting involved in a variety of activities.
"The games were really enjoyable and I'm glad Mr Blundell created the app because it definitely gave me ideas on what physical activities I could do. My favourite activity is the Find My 60. It definitely gives me motivation to exercise for 60 minutes or more," Gianluca said.
Even in these trying times, Silverton Primary aimed to adapt much loved school activities to the at-home environment, which saw the school conduct a virtual cross-country race.
“We were able to align our school curriculum to the remote learning environment. Our virtual cross-country is one great example of this. Children were encouraged to keep active and run over a specific two-week period, with each run contributing to school House points,” Mr Blundell said.
Head of the Achievement Program, Tope Adepoyibi, was impressed with the creative way Silverton Primary School adapted its health and wellbeing initiatives to support students while remote learning.
“I was blown away by how quickly the school created an app that has positively impacted the whole school community. With remote learning making it more challenging for some children to keep active, this tool is a great option to promote physical activity.”
The health and wellbeing efforts by Silverton Primary contributes to the Achievement Program’s Physical Activity and Movement health area. With each health area in the program having a set of targets for schools to achieve, in the case of Silverton, the initiatives align to the Physical Activity and Movement targets of incorporating physical education in the formal school curriculum, teaching students to develop and apply their physical activity knowledge in daily life outside of the classroom, including families and the wider community in physical activity initiatives and providing information on the benefits and opportunities of getting active.
Ms Adepoyibi praises the great efforts of Silverton Primary and encourages all schools to use the help at hand from the Achievement Program.
“Silverton Primary is a great example of a school improving health and wellbeing in a remote environment, with its efforts contributing to our program’s health area targets. I urge all schools to continue building their health and wellbeing initiatives and to use the free resources and support available,” Ms Adepoyibi said.