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March 31, 2020

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Physical literacy is more than reading and activities

The core philosophy that underpins physical education at Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong is that each student is entitled to develop physical literacy through physical experience.

Every child is encouraged to value and take responsibility for engaging in physical activities for life by developing motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding.

This is simply translated into a progressive PE curriculum which focuses on:

Head: cognitive understanding of physical literacy;

Heart: character development and effective elements of physical literacy;

Hands: practical application of the knowwledge and understanding acquired through physical literacy.

Our “Head, Heart and Hands” program begins with our toddler cohort and extends to Year 13. Knowledge, skills and understanding are vertically aligned within our PE curriculum, and they blend with opportunities within the classroom curriculum and experiences offered through the co-curricular sports program.

The PE program engages students and staff through a range of innovative projects. Our team aims to develop a positive culture of understanding related to physical literacy — we inspire, enthuse and have an incredible amount of fun in the process of learning.

The following projects have been implemented since 2019:

Through Go A.P.E. (Active Physical Education), students are immersed in a range of challenging practices that develop core motor skills. We aim to reduce fixed seat learning time and enable students to increase activity and engagement in lessons. Our mantra is: Get ’em in, get ’em going, get ’em thinking, get ’em doing it at home and get ’em coming back for more.

Heart and Sole (and soul!) helps students from Year 1-6 participate in fitness testing as a precursor to engaging in alternative health and well-being activities to emphasize breadth of interest. For example, aqua aerobics, cardio drumming, boxercise and yoga.

As for DAB Bags, students in Year 1 and 2 classes are provided with a Dulwich activity bag to take home on a rotational basis. The bags contain many fun physical activities with stage-appropriate instructions, such as juggling balls, French skipping bands and pretzel yoga cards. The project encourages students to connect with people in their community and link all elements of physical literacy (Head, Heart, Hands) to play. This is “homework” all children love to complete and will bring “play” into the home.

Our TRYathlon event inspires students to experience physical movement activities on land, water and wheels. The project has a service learning theme culminating in advocacy for health and wellness in our community. Students learn that all people (regardless of health) can find a physical activity within our community.

The acquisition of physical literacy is a lifelong journey. The development of motor skills in our early years is essential. We aspire young people to engage in daily physical activity with increasing levels of intensity, to impact positively on their well-being. We help students build connections between mindfulness, exercise, health, neuroplasticity and nutrition so that they recognize and meet developmental milestones.


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