Guidelines for Educators Providing Physical Education
The government has given new PE goals to schools, mandating that all students participate in more organized physical activity during the school day by 2010. By 2014, they must also offer two additional hours of physical education outside the classroom. This article guides how to present yourself as an expert, how to decipher schools’ penchant for acronyms and coding systems, and how to identify the best person to approach within a school, all by drawing on the experiences of prominent educators who are at the forefront of developing regular ETM classes and strategies for schools.
The fitness industry’s current catchphrase must be “diversification.” Group fitness is a vast field with countless potential specializations for astute fitness experts. These specific fields have an extreme need for the qualifications, experience, and knowledge of Group Fitness Instructors. Teaching in a gym or fitness center is not the sole option anymore. Community classes, general practitioner referrals, corporate venues, kids, teens, and the plus-size market are all HUGE, new markets. There needs to be serious action taken to identify answers and develop tailored programs for these populations.
If you want to teach fitness to kids, you’ll need a supplementary teaching qualification (details on such programs are provided at the article’s conclusion). Remember that you will not be insured to teach students under 16 unless you have a separate specialty certificate. You’ll also need a CRB check, although your institution will assist there.
But how do you go about talking to schools? Who should you talk to at universities? And how does everything function?
Physikidz (www.physikidz.com) is Liz Hindley’s wildly successful firm in Preston, Lancashire. After earning her CAFitness certification, Liz (a mother of three) approached local schools to share her novel method of getting kids moving. Liz, or “Leaping Liz,” as the kids call her, created C.A.T.S (Classroom Aerobics Training System) for school use. She realized that kids in elementary and middle school would benefit from daily 10-minute exercise sessions. There is no need to change clothes for these classes, which are held in the classroom. While Leaping, Liz visits the participating schools periodically, and the teachers play the DVD she made of all her C.A.T.S. routines every day.
Preston is the newest city in the United Kingdom, and my program is currently active there and in the surrounding area. I have hosted in-service training events for teachers in Liverpool and Chorley and presented my curriculum at a conference for SScos at the JJB Stadium in Wigan, attended by delegates from all across the Northwest. C.A.T.S. (Classroom-based Aerobic Training System) DVDs have been sold to schools nationwide thanks to this promotion and website.
Liz is a certified group fitness instructor, so I was curious about what led her to start working in schools.
“A personal development manager in the area expressed concern that schools in his partnership were not meeting the Government requirement of 2 hours of structured PE per week by 2010. This was especially true for Key Stage 1.” To see if we might find a solution, I volunteered to collaborate with a local school in his region. Because my brief performances were so well received, I was invited to perform at several local schools. In no time, my alias, “Leaping Liz,” had become well-known among educators in the area, and I was inundated with requests to visit classrooms.
Moreover, I greatly appreciated my time spent with these lively bundles of youth. I feel like I’m significantly impacting the health and fitness of kids in our community. The kids are always excited to fill me in on their extracurricular pursuits like swimming, judo, gymnastics, and ballet in the time between our visits. I am also assisting educators in finding an easy method for incorporating additional physical education into their packed schedules. Just as no two students are the same, no two educational institutions are the same. It isn’t easy, but incredibly entertaining. In the words of Liz
But how do you enter the academic establishment?
Liz proposed a six-week program of free aerobics courses for three first-year classes. Since she first started working there, the school has requested her to undertake a step taster session with sixth graders, a full day of work during health week, after-school sessions for staff, a sponsored aerobics charity event, and multiple returns to position with key stage two. The elementary school across the street was also given Liz’s information and promptly booked her for six weeks.
Pick a target age range and market specifically to them. It would be more effective to approach a school and offer to teach Junior Yoga to Key Stage one for three weeks in half-hour sessions than to try to give all your abilities to the entire school. It will make you look more serious about attending the school, and while you’re there, you’ll be encouraged to try out other clubs and activities. The primary objective is to gain access.
It might be difficult to gain admission to schools. Bringing in outside instructors requires knowledge of the school’s structure beyond simply writing to the head of PE or the head teacher.
Caroline Oliver is a certified physical education instructor with training in Exercise to Music and Fitness Pilates. She is the mastermind behind the website kidzactive.co.uk. If you’re looking for a job in a school, your best bet is to get in touch with Caroline, who doubles as the school’s Sports Coordinator and Professional Development Manager. However, please explain SSCO and PDM. Caroline elucidates who they are and how they might aid your pursuit of a career in education.
Your primary point of contact should be a Partnership Development Manager (PDM). The PDM is responsible for local elementary and secondary educational institutions. This person works out of a secondary school and coordinates the efforts of all the schools in the partnership to meet the 2010 government goal of two hours per week of structured physical education for all students. They have a dedicated fund set aside specifically for physical education.
Search GOOGLE to locate a local PDM contact near you. The SSCo (School Sports Coordinator) for your area can provide this information, or you can visit the webpage for your local government. A secondary school, physical education teacher may be responsible for as many as six elementary schools. Additional PE-designated funds are available to the SSco as well. Contact the secondary schools in your area to find out who the SSco is there.
Emailing the SSCO and the PDM should be your first step because teachers are swamped with paperwork and have a lot on their plates. Tell the school about yourself and the skills, experience, and availability that you bring to the table. Invite them in for a visit to talk about their ideas.
I sent an email to all the local PDMs advertising my Street Dance Programme and Fitness Pilates for adolescent girls. It took the PDMs a while to respond, so in the meantime, I emailed each school’s SSCo. Many of my regulars have children in schools, are classroom aides, and many pupils attend my evening sessions, so I made sure they knew about my plans to give classes at school. I am a full-time Street Dance instructor, instructing at three schools during regular Physical Education classes and two after-school programs. The word spreads like wildfire once you’ve made it into one school. The number of calls I’m getting from other institutions keen to host the workshops has increased dramatically.
White Feathers Fitness’ Donna Podesta has also made strides in the classroom.
Three years ago, I decided to bring my video camera into the Dance Club class at my local high school to record the dance routine we had been working on. Next, I turned it into a DVD (with some help from [http://www.choreographytogo.com/]) and gave it to the school’s SSco. I wanted to demonstrate how far the dancing program had come. Fortunately, he forwarded this information to the PDM in charge of my region. I was subsequently awarded a contract to provide a Key Stage 1 Dance Development Programme to 31 primary schools in my area using lottery funds. Since I can’t possibly teach all the dance lessons by myself, I’ve hired two young women to work for my firm, White Feather Fitness & Inch Loss. We just wrapped up our first week, and the kids have been an absolute joy to instruct. Kids may increase their physical activity and develop their motor skills and self-esteem while having a great time with dance. According to Donna Podesta (www.whitefeatherfitness.co.uk), “I am hopeful that these children’s exposure to exercise will inspire them to maintain an active lifestyle as they grow older.”
We can inspire a lifetime of fitness and demonstrate to the next generation the benefits of exercise in a group with friends to music by providing them with safe, effective, and FUN ETM classes. We can make a difference in children’s health and give ourselves a gratifying avenue to expand our services by collaborating with schools and the community.
Rachel Holmes owns and operates the website Choreographytogo.com, and she is a prominent international speaker. The site also features a free weekly ezine and a forum for instructors to discuss choreography, business, public relations, and marketing topics. Visit http://www.choreographytogo.com for additional lesson plans and activities for kids. Rachel instructs students in grades 10 and 11 in street dance and Pilates at secondary schools in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.