Creative Approaches to Primary Physical Education

Authored by: Angela Pickard

Routledge Handbook of Primary Physical Education

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138682344
eBook ISBN: 9781315545257
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315545257-15

 

Abstract

In this chapter, I wish to argue that teaching physical education (learning to move and moving to learn) is itself a creative act, rather akin to a creative performance that is based on expertise, structure and facilitation. The notion of creativity has a long history related to educational provision in the UK. Creativity is typically described in terms of a product, a process or a creative person (Taylor, 1998; Lubart, 1999) and can relate to ideas, playfulness, exploration, problem-solving, purposefulness and artistic and imaginative invention. The first wave of education policy related to child-centred philosophy and practice in education in the UK came during the 1960s Plowden era (Central Advisory Council for Education, 1967). Here creativity was viewed as a ‘soft’ or relaxed approach to teaching and learning where children were discovering learning for themselves, with little support or guidance.

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Creative Approaches to Primary Physical Education

Introduction

In this chapter, I wish to argue that teaching physical education (learning to move and moving to learn) is itself a creative act, rather akin to a creative performance that is based on expertise, structure and facilitation. The notion of creativity has a long history related to educational provision in the UK. Creativity is typically described in terms of a product, a process or a creative person (Taylor, 1998; Lubart, 1999) and can relate to ideas, playfulness, exploration, problem-solving, purposefulness and artistic and imaginative invention. The first wave of education policy related to child-centred philosophy and practice in education in the UK came during the 1960s Plowden era (Central Advisory Council for Education, 1967). Here creativity was viewed as a ‘soft’ or relaxed approach to teaching and learning where children were discovering learning for themselves, with little support or guidance.

The second wave of creativity in the UK began in 1999 with the All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education report (National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, NACCCE). This was significant in bringing the concept of creativity into the fore-front of thinking as it recommended creativity should have a core place in both learning and pedagogy. According to this report, teaching for creativity involves encouraging beliefs and attitudes, persistence, identifying creative potential across subjects and making connections, motivation and risk taking and providing opportunities for the experiential and experimental. There was advocacy for greater creativity in education through ‘a balance between teaching skills and understanding and promoting the freedom to innovate and take risks’ (p. 10). Here, creativity was defined as ‘imaginative activity fashioned so as to produce outcomes that are both original and of value’ (p. 12). A number of policies and practices promoting creativity in schools in the UK followed the NACCCE (1999) report, all influenced by political and economic agendas (Excellence and Enjoyment, DfES, 2003; Expecting the Unexpected: Developing Creativity in Primary and Secondary Schools, Ofsted, 2003; Creativity: Find It, Promote It, QCA, 2004; Creative Partnerships programme, DfES, 2004; and the report Nurturing Creativity in Young People, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2006). In addition, a study of 17 education systems: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungry, Italy, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United States outlining The Arts, Creativity and Cultural Education: An International Perspective Sharp & Le Metais, 2000) revealed that many countries share the same beliefs and priorities for the arts, creativity and cultural education. This study was part of a programme of work for the International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks. The International Review was funded by Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). According to the report, there is a global:

recognition that creativity is important, and that its development should be encouraged in schools; a realisation that cultural education is an essential component in helping pupils feel included and valued; an acknowledgement of the key role of the arts in the curriculum in developing creativity as well as cultural understanding; a concern about how to organise and manage the arts in the context of the demands of the whole curriculum, including the necessary emphasis on literacy and numeracy (and) a need to find effective ways of raising the profile and status of the arts in education.

(2000: i) Application of a creative curriculum in the UK included all young people being encouraged as both spectators and participants in creativity and culture through the introduction of a five-hour-a-week ‘cultural offer’ (DCMS, 2007). Furthermore, the inclusion of creative development as a strand in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in 2007 was significant, followed by The Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum, which affirmed the need for independent and creative thinkers and learners (Rose, 2009). Creativity is now considered to be embedded in the Foundation Stage curriculum and the National Curriculum for schools in England and relates to personal development, imagination, problem-solving and thinking skills (Ofsted, 2010) and is ‘essential to the success and fulfilment of young people, to the vitality of our communities and to the long-term health of the country’ (Robinson, 2013). Furthermore, European Union (EU) and international governments, authorities and bodies (ACARA, 2014; Education & Training/ET, 2010, 2020 work programs; EC 2008/C 86/01, EC 2010/C 117/01) have ‘highlighted the significance of the promotion of creativity and creative thinking in all education levels as it is considered a crucial and important element for the growth of modern economies and societies’ (Konstantinidou, Zisi, Katsarou & Michalopoulou, 2015).

A champion of creativity in education, Anna Craft (2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2011) argued that creativity can be reflected in everyday potential, as life-wide (Craft, 2005) as opposed to being preserved for the gifted few. Craft introduced the notion of ‘little c creativity’ which values ‘everyday’, or ordinary, creativity in contrast to extraordinary, or ‘big c’, creativity (ibid, 2001).

little c creativity … focuses on the resourcefulness and agency of ordinary people. A ‘democratic’ notion, in that I propose it can be manifested by anyone (and not just a few). It refers to ability to route-find, successfully charting new courses through everyday challenges. It is the sort of creativity, or ‘agency’ which guides route finding and choices in everyday life. It involves being imaginative, being original/innovative, stepping at times outside of convention, going beyond the obvious, being self-aware of all of this in taking active, conscious, and intentional action in the world.

(Craft, 2002: 56) However, anxiety remains amongst educators that creativity is being stifled because the focus on creativity has been paralleled by an expansion of performativity policies, used by the government to seek to raise standards in schools. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) together with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has now established a significant ‘performativity’ culture (Evans, Rich, Davies & Allwood, 2005) through national inspections, national testing, target setting and league tables. It has been argued that the creativity/creative learning policy contrasts with the continuing testing regimes, audit culture and quality assurance measures which seem to favour technician-oriented pedagogies (Boyd, 2005). It appears that teachers in England are encouraged, on the one hand, to take risks, innovate and nurture creativity, and on the other hand, are subject to heavy-duty tracking, measurement and accountability. As Cullingford (2007) asserted, creativity represents ‘open mindedness, exploration, the celebration of difference and … is taken to be an automatic opposition to the language of targets, to instrumental skills, the measurement of outcomes and the dogmas of accountability’ (p. 133). Performativity can be seen to be ‘hijacking the creativity discourse’ (Turner-Bisset, 2007: 201), and this impact has been felt sharply within the foundation subjects. Curriculum time in physical education (PE) has become increasingly marginalised as greater emphasis has been placed on teaching core subjects such as literacy and mathematics.

At the time of writing, the UK is deciding how it will begin the process of Brexit, our government is debating the value of a grammar school system of secondary education and there is an emphasis in the classroom from the earliest years on data proving evidence of pupil progress via phonics screening, Standard Assessment Tasks and a variety of other assessment tools. In contrast, some of those working in the education sector are calling for yoga to be on the curriculum (Fox-Leonard, 2016) and to rank schools by pupil wellbeing in league tables (Gurney-Read, 2016). Physical education is among the top three school subjects in European Union member states (EU27), where creativity is the most prominent in curricula (Heilmann & Korte, 2010). Great teachers understand the culture of raising standards and performativity, of accountability and target setting that exist in education, but importantly, they also understand the potential of physical education to develop physical, intellectual, emotional, social and artistic learning. Great teachers enable teaching to occur at the tension between structure and creativity and promote learning as a creative activity.

Creative approaches

The power of learning in physical education can be transformational and can enable learners to access opportunities that they may not have known existed. The Association of Physical Education in 2015 summarised physical education as:

the planned, progressive learning that takes place in school curriculum timetabled time and which is delivered to all pupils. This involves both ‘learning to move’ (i.e. becoming more physically competent) and ‘moving to learn’ (e.g. learning through movement, a range of skills and understandings beyond physical activity, such as co-operating with others). The context for the learning is physical activity, with children experiencing a broad range of activities, including sport and dance.

and that physical education must provide:

inclusive learning experiences that … acts as the foundation for a lifelong engagement in physical activity and sport. The learning experiences offered to children should be developmentally appropriate to help them acquire psychomotor skills, cognitive understanding, social skills and the emotional learning they need to lead a physically active life.

(AfPE: 2015 3)
There has been an increase in the provision of professional development for teachers in recent years, particularly regarding subject knowledge and confidence building as well as a focus on increasing physical aspects of physical education (Griggs, 2007; Blair & Capel, 2008; Sloan, 2010). This is partly because the amount of time spent on physical education in Initial Teacher Education in England is limited to around 12 hours, but also there is reliance on the use of external sports coaches/companies to teach physical education in primary schools. There is still concern that the National Curriculum for Physical Education in England and Wales has not been taught effectively in primary schools, e.g. Revell (2000), Speednet (2000), Warburton (2001) and Wright (2004).

According to Lavin, Swindlehurst & Foster (2008: ix), the ‘issue of who is delivering physical education in schools is an area of growing concern and interest to the profession’. Sports coaches are being used in primary schools, both inside and outside curriculum time, and although they may have confidence, they may not have the necessary knowledge of appropriate age/stage development, knowledge of National Curriculum expectations, understanding of cross-curricular links or, most importantly, a knowledge of the individual pupils’ strengths and challenges, as a class teacher should. A creative approach to teaching physical education enables teachers to make informed decisions in relation to planning, provision, teaching strategies, assessment and evaluation. Such decisions are based on secure and confident subject and pedagogical knowledge and an understanding of the creative potential of the body. Physical education can:

develop skills in interaction, team-working, problem-solving, observing, evaluating, verbal and non-verbal communication of ideas and emotions, and in making connections … can improve self-esteem and confidence, it can widen aspiration

(Siddall, 2010: 10) Creative approaches is teaching essential knowledge, skills and understanding where the focus is on developing children’s physical literacy (Whitehead, 2013) and capacity to become highly active and explorers of ideas and strategies, thereby motivating them to make informed choices and decisions. High-quality and creative teachers offer a careful balance of support and challenge to learners in order to enable them to explore their capabilities with confidence. I acknowledge that to teach creatively may take some out of their comfort zones, but as Goodwin (2010: 10) summarises there is an excitement as well as a risk in creativity, stating that ‘creativity can be uncomfortable, unpredictable, anarchic, boundary breaking and insecure but also playful, invigorating and pleasurable’.

In my previous work (Pickard & Maude, 2015) I outlined five ‘power’ principles that underpin a creative teaching and learning approach: purpose, opportunities, wellbeing, environment and revel. These power principles are not in a linear order but are core features when planning and providing a creative teaching and learning environment and when assessing. I will expand on these here, as these principles underpin excellence in creative approaches to teaching and learning.

Purpose – valuing purposeful physical exploration and meaning making

Meaning making in primary physical education relates to understanding the body – physical, cognitive and emotional age/stage development – and to scaffold children’s abilities and potential to explore and examine opportunities for relevance. This can be applied through time for play and experimentation with the use of action, metaphor, analogy, descriptive vocabulary, imagery, pattern, rhythm and pace. Such physical explorations and a careful balance of unstructured, guided and structured support and challenge engage the learner in connecting to and building on previous learning and making new physical meanings. Physical education uses the kinaesthetic mode or bodily movement and provides a vehicle for learners to develop social and cultural awareness such as physical empathy and understanding of difference and feelings, values and ideas. Cognitive development and connection can be seen through: enhanced memory associated with physical patterning and repetition; application of and building on previous knowledge, for example, of tactics and use of weight in problem-solving activities related to games; understanding of other subjects through themes; and topics and cross-curricular connections such as dance and maths played out in shapes, number, pattern and space. Ensuring relevance in opportunities, activities, themes and ideas that are related to children’s interests and that integrate knowledge, skills and understanding will provide contexts for meaning. Learning and creativity are collaborative social processes, and meaningful creativity only exists against a social, community or cultural background.

Opportunities – harnessing opportunities within and across the curriculum

The paradox of play is that play is not, nor should be, easily defined; it can be limitless, complex, sometimes chaotic, non-linear and unpredictable. It can be regarded as trivial and purposeless or deeply serious and purposeful and is not always context dependent. What is important is that time, space and value are given to play and exploration, as this is the way that children (and adults) try out old and new knowledge, thinking and possibilities individually and with others, as play is a means of creating and preserving friendships. Play and exploration are essential to physicality and creativity. Chazen (2002: 198) gives an all-encompassing definition of what play is:

Playing and growing are synonymous with life itself. Playfulness bespeaks creativity and action, change and possibility of transformation. Play activity thus reflects the very existence of self.

Problem-solving, investigative activities and creative improvisation tasks can challenge and enable children to take risks in their learning, try new things and generate new possibilities and knowledge, and during this range of more and less structured activities and opportunities children will also gain explicit instruction as appropriate and individualised teaching. In addition practical opportunities to play with risk and fear can be transformational in building children’s confidence. Using different environments both inside and outside (forest/wood/beach/mud, etc.) can enable children to test out and make connections to previous knowledge, skills and understandings whilst learning new things. Well-organised cross-curricular links enable children to make connections in their learning in motivating and meaningful contexts. These associations with other areas of learning and experiences when using prior knowledge and experiences link across and through subjects and across different media.

Wellbeing – developing awareness of health and well-being

Physical education provides an inclusive learning entitlement for social, physical and mental health which should ensure that all children:

  • Are provided with opportunities to gain competence in a broad, balanced range of physical activities.
  • Are helped to enjoy being active and to feel confident and comfortable in a physical activity context so that they are more likely to choose to be active in their own time.
  • Experience and appreciate the broad range of benefits (physical, psychological and social) of a healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Are aware of how active they are and should be and know how to find out about and access activity opportunities in the community, including at school, around the home and in the local area.
  • Understand about ‘energy balance’ and the need to increase physical activity in daily living to assist with ‘healthy’ weight management.
Research evidence shows that education and health are closely linked (Suhrcke & de Paz Nieves, 2011); simply put, children with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically. Furthermore, ‘the culture, ethos and environment of a school influences the health and wellbeing of pupils and readiness to learn’ (Brooks, 2014: 4)

Environment – providing a motivating and inclusive environment

Sustaining motivation needs to be carefully thought through as we consider the material or content of the session, the learner’s role(s) and the environment (Gough, 1999). Ideally, we want a motivational climate that fosters children’s intrinsic motivation, where they experience fun out of curiosity, they want to learn new things and develop new skills where the experience becomes a reward in itself (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Quested & Duda, 2009). Within a school-based environment it may seem that there is a greater focus on extrinsic motivation, where children perform an activity as a means of achieving a certain (correct) or desired outcome. If children are passively receiving information from a teacher, it is difficult to judge whether they are motivated or truly engaged. Similarly, if they are required to simply copy the teacher’s movements for the whole session, it is difficult to see whether the children are challenged to build on old and apply new knowledge. Wenger (1998) in his model of situated learning proposed that learning involved a process of engagement in a ‘community of practice’. Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning, share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wenger, 2009). Communal creativity encourages purpose, ownership, group identity and empathy. For example, the following ways aid social, collaborative and creative learning opportunities:

  • Asking open-ended questions which engage learners in envisaging what might be, such as ‘What if?’ and ‘What else?’;
  • Encouraging connections and relationships in relation to context and material but also in working together;
  • Providing opportunities for learners to try out different approaches together through experimenting and anticipating and overcoming difficulties;
  • Engaging in supported reflection of ideas, actions and outcomes.
Central to valuing and developing creativity is the idea of ‘creativity in relationship’ (Chappell, Craft, Rolfe & Jobbins, 2009) where dynamic social relationships between child-child and child-teacher should be fostered.

Revel – celebrating physical success, achievement and progression

Through the provision of rich learning experiences children can progress to become autonomous learners who are physically literate. It has been suggested by Whitehead (2010: 42) that a physically literate individual:

  • Has the motivation to use their physical capacities
  • Can move with poise, economy and confidence in a wide variety of physically challenging situations
  • Is perceptive in ‘reading’ the physical environment
  • Has a well-established sense of self
  • Has the ability to build relationships with others
  • Can identify and articulate their own movement performance.
Celebration and articulation of achievement, success and progression, however small, is worthwhile. The use of recalling previous experiences, making connections to new learning and the use of open questions can stimulate a range of different responses which could aid in the generation of a rich variety of movement. Asking children to generate further questions is a way to develop more material and will enable them to take greater ownership of creative processes. This can be encouraged when reviewing progress, watching peers and giving feedback, but also giving opportunities to act on feedback. The greater the opportunity to reflect upon and challenge assumptions and initial responses, the more likelihood there is that children will become more innovative and find a range of ways to solve problems. Offering space and valuing time to think can enable children to create answers.

In relation to evaluating and improving performance, learners are engaged in a process of continuity and progression. Children should be involved in describing what they have done and what others have done by observing, describing and copying and use what they have learnt to improve the quality and control of their work to identifying what makes a performance effective and suggesting improvements. There are many ways to integrate reflection, review and appreciation into the creative provision of physical education.

Creative teachers and learners

Creative approaches mean that teachers will take risks with teaching in the same way we expect learners to be creative risk takers. This may relate, for example, to trying out a range of teaching styles or strategies, providing greater opportunities for ownership from the learners or exploring different environments for teaching and learning. Such opportunities include risk-taking, acceptance of failure, fun, silliness and mess (Chappell et al., 2009: 182). According to Jonathan Barnes (2007: 137) creative teachers are simply those who adopt and apply a ‘creative state of mind’. The core characteristics which result in creative practice are:

  • Curiosity and questioning;
  • Connection making;
  • Originality;
  • Autonomy and ownership.
In these ways teachers are creative facilitators who are involved in:
  • Encouraging exploration
  • Nurturing children’s insatiable curiosity
  • Using problem-solving and investigational approaches that stimulate mental activity and self-expression, questioning and probing
  • Providing vivid first-hand experiences in a variety of environments, scaffolding experience for learners
  • Providing a secure environment where the learner can make private thinking explicit and open to change
  • Communicating effectively
  • Presenting new ideas as problems to be solved and areas to be investigate, which allows for cognitive restructuring
  • Promoting positive attitudes
  • Encouraging goal setting and appropriate task difficulty
  • Providing a ‘comfortable challenge’ (a challenge just beyond reach yet attainable)
  • Enabling confidence in language of discussion, support of people around the stimuli of the moment
  • Building relationships between learner and teacher for ‘real’ learning, with awareness of individual need.
Creative teaching then can be viewed as ‘using imaginative approaches to make learning more interesting and effective’ (NACCCE, 1999: 49), and the features of creative teaching as proposed by Craft (2005) could include innovation, relevance and ownership.

Furthermore, Grainger, Barnes and Scoffham argue that just knowing the prescribed curriculum requirements is not enough:

if teachers are to be creative practitioners they need much more than a working knowledge of prescribed curriculum requirements. They need a secure pedagogical understanding and strong subject knowledge, supported by a passionate belief in the potential of creative teaching to engage and inspire hearts and minds. Such teaching depends upon the human interaction.

(2004: 250) Central to teaching is the learner, and teaching for creativity can be seen as having a clear intention to develop children’s own creative thinking and behaviour (NACCCE, 1999). Creativity should not be treated as a temporary fashion; in teaching for creativity the teacher must embrace a willingness and commitment to explore ideas with children and make choices governed by knowledge and expertise, but also to place the needs of the learners at the heart of what they do. Such teachers create relevance and engagement so that all the children will want to learn. Teaching for creativity principles as suggested by NACCCE (1999) are worthy of some consideration. These include encouraging young people to believe in their creative identity, identifying young people’s creative abilities, fostering creativity by developing some of the common capacities and sensitivities of creativity such as curiosity, recognising and becoming more knowledgeable about the creative processes that help foster creativity development and providing opportunities to be creative – a hands-on approach.

Children enjoy, engage with and learn from creative teachers and learn most from teachers who support and challenge their thinking. However, it is important that creativity is not thought to be ‘equated with sloppiness’ (Desailly, 2012: 3). Children do need specific knowledge and skills for their creativity to flourish; as Barnes (2007: 239) suggests ‘the robustness and rigidity of this disciplined understanding can in many ways be the best provoker of creativity’. The NACCCE report made it clear that in its view sustained creative development ‘involves knowledge of the field in question and skills in the media concerned … (and to) recognise the mutual dependence of freedom and control at the heart of the creative process’ (1999: 49). In order to challenge ourselves as teachers and the learners we work with, it is important to consider whether the way we learn influences the way we teach. It is crucial for us to clarify what creativity means for us and in terms of teaching and learning.

The environment is created by us as teachers (Konstantinidou et al., 2015). Prentice’s (2000) concept of creative teachers are those who display ‘cultural curiosity … continue to be self-motivated learners, value the creative dimensions of their own lives and understand how creative connections can be made between their personal responses to experience and their teaching’. Cremin (2009) argues that it is possible to adopt a creative mind-set or attitude through the capacity to generate, reason with and critically evaluate in dealing with the mundane as well as the unusual aspects of everyday life; the creative process can involve risk, challenge, uncertainty and criticality. Creative professionals can combine subject and pedagogical knowledge and ‘teach creatively and teach for creativity’ (Cremin, Barnes & Scoffham, 2009). In addition, Warburton is concerned that creativity is ‘a skill that can be practised, a process to be pursued and a performance to be enjoyed’ (2007: 1273). This is a helpful way of thinking as it enables us to develop a creative habit as at the core is the provision of a teaching environment where creativity can flourish where both the teacher and the children actively engage in the creative process and in the co-construction of creativity.

Creative practice

Here I offer a summary of ways to view dance, gymnastics and games in order to develop creative approaches to engage children in a lifelong love of physical activity. Dance involves the development of technical and expressive skills and making connections between ‘feelings, values and ideas ‘(Siddall, 2010: 9). Learners will use a range of movement vocabulary, dance skills and dynamics (time, weight, space and flow) in composition, performance and appreciation. High-quality dance teaching begins with a theme or idea/stimulus, and these can be visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, tactile or ideational. Such stimuli can easily be cross-curricular, such as:

Early years/key stage 1

  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
  • Can’t You Sleep Little Bear
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (also see Science links)
  • Animal Tales by Beatrix Potter
  • Fairy tales
  • Seasons
  • Metamorphosis (The Very Hungry Caterpillar)
  • Direction using pathways

Key stage 2

  • Greek myths and legends
  • Poetry
  • The Great Fire of London
  • World War I
  • Tudor dances such as Pavanne
  • Composition using dice and chance
  • Using different choreographic devices
It is important to be mindful of continuity and progression, as children respond to different movement stimuli using dance as a rigorous decision-making process. Children should:
  • Develop single actions into more complex patterns and sequences/phrases of movement,
  • Work alone and in pairs and small groups,
  • Use and apply knowledge and skills of shapes, speed, size, direction, level, tension and flow,
  • Articulate greater clarity of movement, strength and flexibility and express a range of ideas and moods
Given the cross-curricular opportunities, there are many purposes and opportunities for meaning making. In working with others through making creative compositions children should be enabled to express themselves and develop confidence in abilities and ideas, therefore supporting well-being. Dance lends itself to creating an enabling environment for creative endeavour modelled and facilitated by the teacher. Learners can take on a range of roles in the process of making work such as choreographer, dancer or evaluator and can articulate cognitive, physical and artistic skills that are used in the work.

Gymnastics

Gymnastic activities call for strength, flexibility and stamina. Again development of these areas relies on teacher confidence with subject knowledge to bring the learner body confidence and power. Again learners should be encouraged to make connections in and through their learning, drawing on previous learning to build new learning. One of the challenges for the teacher can be to encourage children to explore dynamics of movement vocabulary such as body shape, direction, speed, rhythm, pathways, level and relationships, and here connections to dance can also be made. One of the most interesting and creative aspects of gymnastics, of course, is that there is option to use the floor and apparatus. Do also remember that there are obvious connections to skills used in other environments such as climbing a tree and balancing at a playground.

Games

In games there is much creative potential for object control on the spot and travelling between bases and points. Specific games skills, such as catching, throwing, kicking and striking can be developed through game-like progression. For example, catching grows out of progressive activities such as:

  • grasping,
  • picking up,
  • receiving a rolled object,
  • placing up and allowing an object to land back in the two hands,
  • dropping and grasping,
  • bouncing and catching,
  • sending a ball and letting it bounce before catching
  • sending an object to a wall and catching from a bounce.
There is much potential for the creation of games based on each of these progressive skills. As the children become more able to apply a range of skills they can devise invasion, net/wall, striking and target games.

Dance, gymnastics and games

In all physical activities children will have the opportunity to increase their sensorimotor and neuromotor skills, gross motor and fine motor activity, movement vocabulary, use of space and direction, dynamics and movement memory. Learners should be able to capitalise on their perceived competence and success through cooperation and competition. Children can be engaged through research, selection and creation of increasingly complex sequences that contain a greater number of actions and links. A range of resources can be manipulated in all aspects of physical education too: dance, gymnastics and games, including, for example, balls, hoops, ribbons and bean bags as the children develop skills in travelling, jumping, balancing, rolling and turning. Furthermore, different environments for creative opportunities can be embraced both inside and outside. Opportunities to make choices and decisions and to select and reject movement material are powerful. Repetition and practice will enable the application and development of quality of movement, flow and performance skills as well as develop movement memory. Such practice can be a personal challenge for improvement or in collaboration with others. It is the teaching approach that will facilitate and ensure through the balance of support and challenge that children are motivated to engage in physical education in all aspects of dance, gymnastics and games.

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