With the shift from physical classes to online mode, children have been confined to their homes with little or no physical activity. As a result of this, there has been an increased risk of obesity in children and a rise in mental health problems. A good physical and mental health has been linked to better academic performance, overall development and mental well-being. Most schools are focusing on academics and the extra-curricular activities are being neglected.
Sportz Village and EducationWorld recently held a webinar on ‘Maintaining fitness and good health during the pandemic’, which was moderated by Summiya Yasmeen, Managing Editor, EducationWorld & ParentsWorld.
The key speakers included Dr Ashok Pandey, Director, Ahlcon Group of Schools, Delhi; Dr S. Bhavanishankar Subramanian, Senior Principal, Lalaji Memorial, Omega International School, Chennai; Saumil Majmudar, Co-founder, CEO & MD, Sportz Village, Bangalore, Venkat Raman, Senior Vice-Principal, CHIREC International School and Praveen Raju, Founder, Suchitra Academy, Hyderabad.
Dr Pandey says that it is due to the lockdown, people are realising the gravity of the situation – that children’s health is equally important as their academics. He adds, however, as far as physical education is concerned, teachers are trying to synchronise the students with same – they have played videos of dances, aerobics, zumba, yoga, etc but the real question is how much has it worked? “There should be a renewed effort on making children active,” he says adding that there should be at least 60 minutes of some exercise, moving, family games, together in Zoom should be involved.
Dr Subramanian observes, “Physical and health education is as much a core subject as mathematics and languages. What we need to be doing in this point of times is to try and elaborate the little experiences that the children have with families.” He adds that youngsters who are mentally stressed and doesn’t have the right kind of physical fitness need to be changed and this can be start at home itself.
Suchitra Academy had held physical activity classes online, for the school children. There were some initial challenges but then after planning the entire process, the outcome was good, says founder Praveen Raju. He adds that although online classes had started in March, physical education classes could only begin in July. Parents too were involved in the exercises which included flexibility, body balance and much more. But the vast majority of schools and students do not have access to all the required equipment’s for physical education and that is the biggest challenge, he adds.
At Sportz Village, physical education classes were first launched at the primary level with one period a week – “after sometime, we could see a tremendous amount of happiness and parents too were involved who also enjoyed the classes,” says , co-founder Saumil Majmudar.
“The real question was what about the props used in a regular situation, hence we made the children understand that you do not need external devices, whatever you have at home is good enough. The intent should be there to keep yourself fit and going. Those classes have been going quite well,” adds Mazumdar. Further, the activity classes were recorded so that children from other grades could watch it later.
To know more about what challenges the schools and students faced and how they have overcome it, check out the entire video here.