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The Value of HPE in Social Emotional Learning for Primary Schools

By Life Skills Group

Published 1 March 2021 11.33 AM


Happy HPE week to our friends in Queensland! (1-5 March 2021)



This initiative by the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER QLD) is an important week for educators, parents and students to reflect on the value of HPE in education. There is no question that HPE is an important part of the school curriculum in promoting student physical health. Some health benefits include improved physical fitness, including coordination and movement skills, strong muscles and bones. It also helps build a routine around fitness and an interest in physical activities and hobbies.

But the value of HPE extends far beyond its physical health impacts. 

In 1994, the Australian curriculum renamed this learning area from ‘Physical Education’ to ‘Health and Physical Education’ to reflect the decision to adopt a more holistic socio-cultural approach to developing student health and wellbeing. HPE creates an environment where students can develop the social and emotional skills that are necessary to thrive in life, but not traditionally explicitly taught. 

Physical movement, games and activities provide a setting where students can learn to communicate and interact with other students in ways to contribute to overall health and wellbeing. In team sports, students must utilise communication skills to reach common goals. This is crucial in building social skills in cooperation and teamwork. There are also proven emotional and intellectual benefits such as building emotional regulation skills and improved concentration. Students learn resilience when they are presented with setbacks or challenges during physical activity and learn to persevere through them. 

The development of social and emotional skills are linked to a variety of academic benefits including improved academic results, reduced disruptive behaviour and higher levels of academic engagement and participation. Team sports are great for introducing key cognitive skills such as basic decision making and strategic planning skills in young students. These students have not yet necessarily developed the vocabulary and the ability to conceptualise what these complex skills are, yet they already have the capacity to practice these skills through physical education. 

Here are a few of our favourite activities from Life Skills GO for you to do during HPE week - or anytime! The ‘Plank and Boat Ball’, ‘Around The Block’ and ‘Train Tip’ activities promote collaboration and decision making skills whilst developing fundamental motor skills, fitness, awareness of space and coordination - enjoy!


HPE activities

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Our learning platform Life Skills GO contains hundreds more physical activity resources and lesson plans just like these, which can be blended with evidence-based, curriculum-aligned digital lessons and wellbeing check-ins to help primary school students and educators build whole-school wellbeing. Learn more and try it free for 30 days!



About Life Skills Group

Our mission is to globally empower educators to prioritise, support and measure the development of social, emotional and physical literacy for our next generation of leaders. We provide curriculum-aligned, evidence-based and measurable social, emotional and physical education solutions which enable children to thrive in their academic, personal and professional lives.

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