At SISD, we put great emphasis on the holistic well-being of our children, which goes beyond the academic.
Our pastoral care environment ensures that they have the emotional support and nurturing that they need to grow into kind, mature, and compassionate individuals, who take ownership over their own actions and understand how they affect others. This helps them maintain their mental and emotional well-being, which can often be negatively impacted by the pandemic.
With our canteen, we cater to students’ nutritional needs, serving them safe, healthy food that is prepared to the highest standards of food safety. By providing them with a healthy diet, we bolster their resistance to infection and experiencing harmful symptoms.
Of course, this platform of wellness wouldn’t be complete without physical activity and sports!
“2020 has been a unique year – one with many challenges, no doubt,” says SISD’s Head of Sport, Mr. Rob Duncan. “Around the world, many cautionary methods have been put into place to help us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been lockdowns, social distancing, mask wearing, and travel has been heavily reduced. Although these methods greatly help us reduce exposure, it is also important to be mindful that these measures also challenge us to overcome some negative effects on us physically and mentally.
“One of the best ways to combat this is through a robust platform of improving well-being, especially with physical activity and a healthy diet.”
Sports and well-being
The International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education has affirmed that moderate, regular physical activity improves health in numerous ways, including immune function, and stress relief.
Mr. Duncan adds, “Physical activity has a plethora of benefits for our body. It strengthens muscles and bones, improves heart and lung function, and increases red blood cell production. In terms of brain function, it stimulates new neuron development and has been shown to build creativity and problem solving. Emotionally and mentally, physical activity helps reduce anxiety, gives us a more positive body image, help energy levels, improves focus and helps regulate sleep.
“These are only a handful of the benefits of physical activity. Combine these with a healthy diet and everyone would be well-positioned to take on the challenges that we are currently faced with.”
How SISD uses sports and exercise to bolster physical well-being
SISD is committed to incorporating physical activity in our curriculum to keep our children’s physical well-being in tip-top shape. Mr. Duncan describes how we’ve implemented this in our school:
“Keeping in line with the current regulatory protocols, we have had to overcome the reduced use and sharing of equipment. With this and our current environment in mind, we have fine-tuned our units to increase activity, incorporating more physical movement and fitness throughout our lessons.
“We have hosted lap challenges which classes can access separately throughout the day, as well as socially-distanced ‘disco skipping’ events in the auditorium for each class in Primary. We’ve also mixed in the use of technology to keep motivation high and unique.
“In Secondary, a new core sport class was created for Grades 9 and 10 students with a focus on well-being, being active, and exploring lifelong activeness.”
These sports and exercise practices at school are important components in our fight against COVID-19. The pandemic has strained people not just because of the risk of infection itself, but also due to a disruption in physical activity that has affected millions of people in lockdown. By ensuring that our children have access to physical programmes and equipment at school, we keep them active in a time when that might be difficult or otherwise unsafe.
The Youth Sport Trust has also noted that PE teachers are uniquely positioned to identify well-being issues with children during the pandemic. Through physical education, they can build resilience and uplift the creation of active habits, and even instill values of creativity and empathy – many of which are central to the IB Learner Profile.
As Mr. Duncan says, “Our overall goal is help students understand that there will always be challenges – however, it’s best to face these head on and find positive solutions, regardless of how difficult it may be!”