Program to increase students' physical activity

From 2020, some South Australian primary schools will have the opportunity to offer students an increase in time spent in some type of physical education or activity.

The Physical Education/Physical Literacy (PEPL) program will allow students to have activity 'snacks' such as exercise between classes to improve health and concentration.

The PEPL trial has been made possible through a partnership between the State Government and a number of associations and universities with a $700,000 grant from Sport Australia.

A range of schools will be selected later this year to take part in the program with specialist educators working with staff to increase their confidence and competence in teaching PE.

Professor Dick Telford developed the PEPL program along with colleagues from the University of Canberra as well as Deakin University.

"In first focusing on the young developing minds and bodies of primary school children, we have the opportunity to set up healthy habits of physical activity and nutrition that are likely to last a lifetime," Prof Telford said.

"It is great that we have a win-win situation all round for South Australian teachers and their students, because not only has this approach been shown to improve physical literacy and health prospects, academic performance has been shown to improve as well."

Community organisations and sporting clubs will also become involved by helping to provide students with extra-curricular activities and learning experiences while also hopefully gaining more participants and volunteers.

State Education Minister John Gardner said a more active lifestyle would contribute to a person's physical and mental health and could provide the opportunity for children to network and make friends.

"We are excited to be working with a number of experienced sporting bodies and experts who'll provide participating schools with essential tools to lead a physical education program that is inclusive and supportive of all students," Mr Gardner said.

"Developing physical literacy at an early age arms children and young people with the confidence and capability to be active and stay active so they can lead a more productive lifestyle for years to come."

This story Program to increase students' physical activity first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.