PHYSICAL EDUCATION & SPORTS POLICY FOR SCHOOLS [SAINT LUCIA]

DRAFT
* Currently under revision by Physical Education teachers island-wide. Implementation scheduled for September 2002


Preamble

Policies are guides to action that reflect procedures which, when adhered to, fulfil the best interest of the organization and the purpose for which it exists. Therefore this policy should guide schools to know the goals and objectives of Physical Education & Sports; provide guidelines for the establishment of the subject and sets the framework for the development of the subject in the education system.

Recently, there has been unprecedented support for Physical Education and sports from a number of sources outside of the school system. Medical experts recommend daily physical activity as an important means of preventing coronary problems, obesity, high blood pressure etc., Nutritionist prescribe a combination of diet and exercise for weight control. Mental Health Experts encourage physical activity as a means for releasing tension. Recreation Leaders use sports and games to fill leisure hours, to release stress and to relax. Based on this support from those experts, and partially because of them the country seem to be experiencing growth in the popularity of walking, running, aerobics, weight training, and a host of other activities, in particular for young and middle ages,

At the same time, lack of trained physical-education teachers (inadequacies in quality of teachers), tight budgets, and the attention given to physical-education by schools, inadequate facilities, and lack of equipment and literature contribute to lack of improvement in Physical Education.

Parents and the general public to some extent are relatively unaware of the many positive changes, which can occur. Better communication is necessary among physical educators and those who support education and make curriculum decisions. Without improved communication, the feeling that Physical education is a kind of play period for students to run off steam and learn traditional team sports will continue to exist.

The department has consistently maintained that physical-education makes valuable contribution to students at all grade levels, primarily in the psychomotor domain, but also in the cognitive and affective areas. It is becoming more apparent with each passing year that school programs must help students develop a vigorous healthy life-style, which include appropriate activities and attitudes for all stages of life.

Definitions

Physical -- Education is an all encompassing term, including fitness, skills, movement, dance, recreation, health, games and sport plus the appropriate values and knowledge of each.

The skills developed through a good physical education programme are critical in ensuring that students have success in many of the sport and leisure activities common to the community.

Physical -- Education has a major role to play in the development of young people. It is an integral part of the total education of any child and is closely linked to other creative and learning experiences and skill acquisition. It makes a significant contribution to the all - round harmonious development of the mind and body.

The program also help students develop the competencies and beliefs necessary for incorporating regular physical activities into their lives. Through involvement in a well-taught physical-education program, students can achieve physical and personal benefits.

Therefore, the planning and management of the Physical-Education Curriculum in Schools should always have children as the focus of attention, with the overall purpose of providing rich and varied experiences.

Physical Education also includes sport education. Physical Education is also the process through which sport, outdoor adventure activities, dance, gymnastics, aquatics and games are used by physical educators to help students learn motor skills and to learn about and achieve physical fitness where this is possible. Physical Education activities also assist the school to develop personal and social skill in students.

Sports is a 'human activity that involves specific administration, organization and an historical background of rules which define the object and limit the pattern of human behaviour; it involves competition or challenge and a definite outcome primarily determined by physical skill' (Singer, p. 28).

Theoretically, because of its insistence upon rules and equality (disregarding the prejudice that can exist within the framework of sport), sport 'provides an egalitarian utopia in which rich and poor, black and white, can subject themselves to a symbolic test unhampered by the accumulation of wealth or poverty, looks or skin colour' (Ashworth, Readings in Sports Psychology, p. 278). It involves: set rules, area and time; set positions for team players; complex physical activity which are applied throughout the set time; serious training and preparation; and competition between individuals or teams.

Sequence of Instructions

The development of motor skills and physical fitness and knowledge must begin in the earliest years of primary school. During these years, the students are physically and intellectually capable of benefiting from instruction in Physical education and are highly motivated and enthusiastic about learning. However, throughout a student's school life age- appropriate instruction must be provided during Physical Education.

With these thoughts in mind and to better plan for the development of our young persons and arising from a number of discussions, observations, experiences, incidents, The Department of Youth and Sports along with other stakeholders have recognized the need to develop policy for schools Physical- education and Sports.

It is being recommended that the policy consider the following:
  1. Scheduling

  2. Facilities/Equipment

  3. Training

  4. Health & Safety

  5. Girls in Sports

  6. Education

  7. Participation/Eligibility

  8. Awards

  9. Sports for the Physically/Mentally Challenged

  10. Resources/Financial Assistance

  11. Media

  12. Drugs

Philosophy

Regular physical activity provides numerous health benefits - from leaner bodies and lower blood pressure to improved mental health and cognitive functioning.

We believe that the School Physical Education and Sports Program should promote physical activity, should teach skills as well as form or change behaviour, and should be able to influence health and well being across the life span. Also that a quality program of Physical Education must be a core requirement in all schools and a central component in a comprehensive school's health program. (Allensworth & Kolbe 1987). Helping students learn to be active early in their lives will provide an important foundation for lifetime physical activity.

Through Physical Education, psychosocial development may be nurtured and opportunities created to develop interpersonal relationships, personal growth and self-esteem. Objectives such as good sportsmanship, cooperation, team work, giving and receiving support, appreciation for regular exercise, emotional control, leadership and fellowship skills and the development of a positive self concept can be furthered.

Among other areas, Physical Education should enhance the knowledge of the following: the systems of the body such as the muscular and nervous systems and the effect of exercise on them; biomechanics and their application to the human body; health nutrition and dieting components; the history, rules, strategies, equipment and safety measures of various physical activities; and a basic understanding of sports/school sociology and competitions at various levels.

Quality Physical Education/Sports Programs

What constitutes a Quality Physical Education Program?

How do we help student gain the knowledge and abilities they need to lead an active life now and in the future?

Definition: Quality Physical Education means a planned program of instruction and activity for all students through the entire school year.

Quality Physical Education programs are essential in helping students gain competence and confidence in a variety of movement forms such as: aquatics, dance, gymnastics, recreational and activities. It should provide a sound framework for the design and assessment that develop the students' motivation, fitness, cognitive, affective/behavioural, and active lifestyle needs, and should focus on life-time involvement.

Benefits:
  • Students display positive attitudes towards an active lifestyle
  • Exhibit better health habits (tend not to smoke)
  • Students develop personal physical fitness and enhance bone growth
  • Exhibit more positive attitudes about school, physical activity and self
  • Play better with others
  • Have less aggressive behaviours
  • Perform as well or better academically
Goals of the Physical Education & Sports Policy

The aim of organized physical education and sport programs is to create an environment that stimulates selected movement experiences resulting in desirable responses that contribute to the optimal development of the individual's potentialities in all phases of life. (Shepphard and Willoughby). The objective of the Schools Physical Education and Sports Policy is to provide guidelines to schools for development of the following:
  • To help students achieve a health-enhancing life of physical activity
  • To help understand and respect individual differences among people in physical settings
  • Integrate Physical Education and Sports into the Curriculum
  • To provide for a safe physical environment
  • To provide students with a variety of activities that will enhance life-long learning and participation
  • Promote physical excellence
Scheduling

For Physical Education to be meaningful or to be of value, it must be offered with regularity. The importance of daily periods should be recognized and achieved wherever possible. (This remains a challenge in times of fiscal constraint.) The current offerings for Primary Schools are: Cricket, Netball, Athletics and Football; and for Secondary Schools are: Cricket, Volleyball, Netball, Basketball, Football, Athletics, Swimming, Dance and Table Tennis.

The following are being recommended:

Time Allotment
  • For Kindergarten - Grade 2, 20 - 30 minutes of daily Physical Education. 150 minutes per week
  • From Grade 3--Grade 6, 3 periods weekly from 30 minutes (elementary level)
  • From Grade 7 - Grade 12, 2 single periods per week from 40 minutes per session
  • Physical Education should be a part of every student's schedule
  • Extra-Curricula activities (intra-murals, inter-house or inter-class activities should be compulsory). (Schools should prepare students for competitions by first organizing their internal competition)
  • Intra-murals should be scheduled at least once per week for a maximum of two hours
  • Time should be available for unstructured activities (break-time, lunchtime)
  • Every school should schedule on the same day
  • Physical Education should be compulsory from Kindergarten to Grade 12
Class Size

Classes in Physical Education should be approximately the same size as classes in other subjects offered in school. This is as essential for effective teaching, individualized instruction, and optimal performance in Physical Education as it is in other content subjects. Physical Education contributes to educational objectives in an equal basis with other subjects in the Curriculum.
  • Class size should be comparable so that its educational objectives can be attained. Recommended class size; maximum of 30--35
  • However, aquatics, gymnastics, and other high-risk activities call for reduced student-to-teacher ratio with 20 students
Instructional Loads and Staffing

The instructional load of the Physical Educator should be of prime concern to management. To maintain a high level of enthusiasm, vigour and morale, it is important that the load be fair and equitable.

Some professional guidelines recommend:
  • Two full-time Physical Education teachers should be provided for every 190 secondary students; one male and one female Physical Education Teacher for every skills lesson where the class is mixed (male/female)
Dress

Attire should be appropriate. An important concern is that the clothing ensures safety when students are engaged in physical activity.

Recommendation:
  • For both male and female: shorts, T-shirts and skirts for girls
  • Also appropriate footwear should be worn
Facilities/Equipment

The provision of adequate physical resources including facilities, equipment and maintenance can help in influencing attitudes and facilitating program success. The Physical Education and Sports Program's learning environment suggests that facilities should be available to children engaged in large-muscle activity involving climbing, jumping, skipping, kicking, throwing, leaping and catching, and those also engaged in fundamental motor-skills activities and others in low organization games, various cooperative; team activities and competition.

Recommendations
  • Proper facilities and equipment should be available to ensure the safety and health of the athletes
  • Provision of protective equipment
  • Basic equipment should be provided to all Infant and Elementary Schools including: balls, skipping ropes, cones, hoops, bean bags, bats, etc
  • Showers and change rooms should be installed at every Secondary School
  • All Kindergarten Schools should be equipped with playing space as well as facilities for climbing, crawling, jumping, etc
  • Provisions should be made for indoor sporting facilities/infrastructure (especially during the rainy season)
Training

It has long been recognized that the qualifications and qualities of a good teacher and coach are synonymous. Personnel recruitment, selection and training are very important. In selecting and hiring, the most qualified personnel should be recruited. They include consideration of the special qualifications for teaching and coaching, the general qualifications of physical educators and the unique qualifications needed.
  • Physical Education Teachers should be trained/qualified
  • Training for Infant and Primary School Teachers should be offered at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, and should be compulsory in the first year
  • In-service training should be offered as well
  • Uniforms including shoes allowance should be provided for Physical Education Teachers. Trained/qualified Physical Education Teachers should be employed at every Secondary School: 1 male/1 female
  • At least one Physical Education & Sports Officer should be made available to each district
  • Coaches should be made available to schools to assist with the preparation of teams for training
  • Practicing teachers and coaches should be certified First Aiders
  • Student-athlete who represent their school or the country at sporting activities should not be at a disadvantage in terms of their academic work; therefore arrangements should be made to provide special tuition for students
Health and Safety

Competitive sport should contribute to the health and well being of the student. Everything possible should be done to protect the Health and Safety of the participants.

Recommendations
  • Medical supervision should be available at all major events
  • Playing areas should be kept clean and safe
  • Games should be scheduled that result in equal and safe competition
  • Injured players should be examined by a physician and administered proper treatment
  • A physician should be present at all games and practices involving the most strenuous contact sport
  • An annual medical examination should be required for all participants
  • Only equipment that is fully certified as offering the best protection for the student-athlete should be purchased and utilized
  • All protective equipment should fit players properly
  • Competition should be scheduled between teams of comparable ability
  • Playing fields and surfaces should meet standards for size and safety for the participants
  • Competition should not be played until players have a minimum of 3 weeks of physical conditioning and training
  • Insurance policies should cover injuries in sport
  • School registration forms should include a section for medical history. The medical certificate should be signed by a doctor
  • Nurses should be assigned to schools at least 3 times a week
Girls and Women in Sport

Proponents of equality in girl's and women's sports have opened the window of opportunity concerning participation in women's sports in recent years. Women have become accepted as athletes, with full rights to experience the competitive urges so long restricted by our gender-dominated society. With reference to "The Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport", whose main aim is to develop a sporting culture that enables and values the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport, the following recommendations are made:
  • Ensure that all girls have the opportunity to participate in sport in a safe and supportive environment which preserves the rights, dignity and respect of the individual
  • Increase the involvement of women in sport
  • Equal opportunity to participate and be involved in sports regardless of race, religion, sex, disability, social origin, etc. (Elimination of Discrimination)
  • The planning, design and management of facilities should equally meet the particular needs of girls and young women in school sports
  • Financing of sports should be equal for both men and women
Education

Substance abuse is a reality that must be recognized. The substance abuse problem in the world of professional and college sports is of great concern for all. It is not limited to the adult world, they endanger the entire young generation.
  • Athletes found using drugs should be sanctioned (elaborate)
  • Every child regardless of creed, race, sex, handicap should be given an opportunity to participate in sports
  • Students/athletes should be educated on health and safety
  • Standardize skill and theoretical evaluation should be available to schools
  • There should be provisions made to include Drug Education in the Physical Education Program
Participation

Standards regarding eligibility of participants are essential and this should be in writing, and should be circulated and understood by all including players, coaches, schools, officials and parents.

Age Limit
  • Under 13 / Under 16. A student should not be 13 or 16 in the year of competition
  • Under 17 / Under 20. A student should not be 17 or 20 in the year of competition
  • At the Infant level, participation should be non-competitive; fun sports
  • For a student to be eligible for representation they should satisfy the following requirements (some may apply to local and regional competition)
    • They should have parental consent
    • Should present a medical certificate
    • Should have an I.D. for participation
    • Should present a copy of a birth certificate or a school registration for participation
    • All activities should take into account the age and development level of the child
  • Athletes should participate in the inter-house competition and inter-school to qualify for participation in national representation
  • At the Secondary Schools, co-educational sports should be limited to the recreational-sport level
Awards

The value of Sports Awards and honour is sometimes questioned. However, when the program is properly managed and kept in perspective, awards are a meaningful part of school. Certificates, plaques, and medals should be modest and meaningful.
  • Any monetary awards that are made to a school should be used for the development of the sport; either to purchase equipment, and gear or development of facilities as well as for training
  • Challenge trophies should be replaced at least every 3--5 years (elaborate)
  • With competitive sport being an integral part of the educational process, the Ministry should assist students in gaining admission to higher Institutions of learning where they can further both their academic and sports excellence (after satisfying certain criteria)
  • Bursaries should be awarded to students who qualify for national representation (example Windward Island School Games)
Sports for the Physically/Mentally challenged

Persons with disabilities can receive the same benefits as their non-disabled peer group, if Adapted Sports Activities are included in the school sports program. Students in the adapted/development sport program need activities that have carry-over value. They may continue exercise programs in the future, but they also need training in sports and games that will be useful in life.

Recommendations
  • Prepare the challenged for sport competition particularly where no opportunities and programs now exist
  • Provide special training for volunteer coaches to enable them to work with youngsters in physical fitness, recreation and sport activities
  • Plan and design appropriate and adequate facilities, equipment and supplies that would cater for the needs of the challenged
Resources/Financial Assistance

Physical Education and Sports Personnel have argued that competitive sports programs have great educational value. They are curricula in nature, they represent an integral part of the educational program, and as such deserve to be treated the same. This means that they contribute to the welfare of students like any other subject in the curriculum. On this basis, therefore, the finances necessary to support such a program should come from the Ministry.
  • Financial allocation should be made for each district
  • Students should pay a fee for sports development in their respective schools
Media

There should be national coverage of school sports. Newspaper, print and electronic media should be used to provide appropriate space and publicity for the program and its activity.

Drugs

Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug, with marijuana being the next popular drug. These drugs are taking their toll on our young athletes, as well as the community as a whole. Growth potential and maturity are being hampered, and side effects are causing poor health; not to mention impairment of motor function, slower reaction times, improper coordination with poor execution of movement, altered perception of speed, and withdrawal and loss of friends. In addition, they are resulting in academic, psychosocial, and vocational failure.
2011 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. All Rights Reserved. P.O. Box 10827, Georgetown, GUYANA.
Tel: (592) 222 0001-75 Fax: (592) 222 0171 | E-mail your comments and suggestions to: registry@caricom.org | SiteMap