Saint Andrew's Orthodox Church School

Physical Education

‘mens sana in corpore sano’

Saint Andrew’s Church School takes a unique approach to physical education that is inspired by the belief that a healthy body contributes to a healthy mind. We believe that it is unfitting for children of primary school age to spend their weekdays entirely contained within a classroom. It is in the nature of children to spend much of their time running and playing. They feel a need to expend energy physically and they benefit from doing this. Children need daily physical movement for their healthy development physically, but also socially, since children naturally interact with their peers through kinetic play.

For these reasons we have included a physical education class into each day of the school week. These daily classes serve three main purposes:

  1. Situated roughly in the middle of the day, these classes provide children with a rest from their effort to maintain proper classroom behaviour. Children get the chance to be loud and mobile as is apt for their stage of development. This regular break also enables children to concentrate better whilst they are in classes. This relief is particularly important for boys and children who are more boisterous as they tend to have more difficulties with the classroom setting

  2. Health and Wellness: We unsure that children lead a healthier lifestyle by providing them with daily exercise. We are aware that in our modern urbanised lifestyle many children go home from school to spaces where there is insufficient capacity for them to run freely.

  3. PE classes support the development of friendships and community amongst our students since they have everyday opportunities to interact with one another through play. Children get to know one another and build their relationships through play, constantly learning about how game rules shape interactions. They negotiate rules, discuss the particulars of the application of rules and hold one another accountable for maintaining the order laid out by the game. These interactions are critical for children’s social development. These form foundations for character development and practical ethics.

The Monday class takes the form of the traditional physical education class and introduces children to a range of sports, developing the habits of physical exercise, the basics of gymnastics, elements of martial arts and corrective exercise.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are spent playing traditional group games such as: elastic, Bean Bag Wars, Duck Duck Goose, Tag, Simon Says, Blind Man’s Bluff, Capture the Flag, Kabaddi, marbles and more.

The classes are organised by a teacher that ensures that they contain sufficient variety and introduces children to group games that they likely do not know. The teacher also ensures that the competitive element of games remains friendly and pleasant for all the participants. Alongside the role of the teacher however children have regular opportunity to influence the classes. Child participants are invited to lead certain games, to choose from a selection of activities, or to introduce their own games. Having become familiar with a variety of group games, children are also given the opportunity to change rules and adapt games, in this way trying out the function of rules in organising human activity. Through organised play children also take turns practicing their skills in organising others and facilitating activities.

The Wednesday class offers children a course in traditional dances and musical play. A segment is dedicated to Scottish ceilidh and highland dancing, traditional Greek and Romanian dances, rhythmical instruments and games like musical statues.

The Friday class includes traditional games like the Tuesday and Thursday class but the games often have a theme associated with the lives of the saints that are learnt about in our Friday Lives of Saints Workshops. The physical education class is aligned with the workshop of that day and often includes the element of role-playing the more eventful parts of that week’s saint’s life.