By Polina Ananina
Physical education in Early Years (EY) curriculum arguably should be a tool for both physical development and social and emotional growth. The most up-to-date Russian national PE program for EY includes all the possible exercises that engage the whole body. One of the ways in which it ought to be possible to take it forward is building a link with social education and psychological training.
It is assumed that physical activities favourably affect not only physical development, but also physical fitness, physical and mental health of children, social and emotional development. The exercises that aim to develop all the mentioned above areas need to be included into the Russian PE program.
The researches underlying the article are being conducted in the 2018-2019 school year on the basis of English Playschool Moscow School. They involve 4 classes of children aged between 4 and 7 years.
The study is also based on the principles of effective teaching stated in a research called “Assertive Discipline” as well as some other fundamental reference guides to maintaining calm and productive learning. The research says: “You [teacher] model appropriate behaviour and may have to teach it to students as well” [1, 1978: 57]. Talking about the children with SEN, the authors also say that the key factors are “…gaining their trust, and meeting their need” [1, 1978: 57]. All these recommendations were considered for the following activity.
Age: Pre-K, KS1 (Y1 and Y2). 4-7 years old learners.
Activities and focuses: running, attention, choice, reflection.
Aims: to present the learners with the model of making choice, to scaffold understanding of the difference between people, and differences and similarities in their choices.
Supplies: pairs of objects (toys, balls, stationery), 2 boxes.
Procedure: The teacher elicits the learners’ previous knowledge on making choice, write down the answers on sticky notes and put them up. The teacher uses any technic to split the learners into two even teams (the teacher or an assistant can take part). The number of students in each team is not essential. However, it affects the number of supplies. The two even teams are standing from opposite sides of the gym with their backs to each other. The teacher gives out the two sets of objects to the teams so that every member of one team had a pair in a different team, and explains the task.
After a signal, the learners turn around and run towards the other team looking for a student with a pair object. The teacher can make this task a competition to find out who finds a matching object faster than the others.
For the second go the teacher lets the learners choose their objects by themselves. There should be more objects than the number of students, some objects can be in three. The running/matching task is the same.
Outcomes: Some students did not find a pair, some have more than one matching object. The class discuss the second go, the teacher leads them to understanding that some choices are unique and some are very popular. They also compare their previous knowledge fixed on the sticky notes with the outcomes.
Recommendations: It is better to avoid competition in younger classes and emphasize the uniqueness of a learner who did not find a pair after the second go.
The aims of the game correspond with the PYP principle of developing “an awareness of one’s own feelings and behaviour. Learning strategies for coping with, communicating about, and managing feelings» [2, 2000: 29] essential for physical education in PYP.
- Canter, Lee, and Marlene Canter. Assertive Discipline: A Take Charge Approach for Today’s Educator., 1976. Print.
- Making the PYP happen, International Baccalaureate Organisation., 2000. Print.