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School Curriculum - Health and Physical Education

            It is vital that parents, teaching staff, administration and students recognize that improving the health our country is the responsibility of all members of society. For this reason, there is no doubt that Health and Physical Education (HPE) holds an essential and valued part to any school curriculum. HPE provides a foundation for cultivating active and educated members of society, competent in interacting between themselves and their social, cultural, spiritual and physical environments, "in the pursuit of good health" (Queensland Studies Authority [QSA], 2009, Introduction section, para.3). .
             After 32 years, the words of Dr Jerry Jones (as cited in Bullus & Cole, 1998) still ring true: .there is now a clear picture emerging that the development of the child's perceptual abilities, perceptions of space and time and orientation and the perceptions of sequence are very important in terms of reading and writing and one of the best ways of learning these things is in terms of physical activity (p7).
             Health and Physical Education as a program, assists students to function more successfully in all areas of the school curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2013) as opposed to just fitness and motor skills. In fact, the vast majority of research on the benefits of the inclusion of HPE in the school curriculum suggests that it would be detrimental to a student's mental and physical health to remove or reduce the class (Martin, 2010). Similarly, Shephard (1994) suggests that by increasing physical activity participation, students gain better grades and enhance their learning in all aspects of school. According to a study completed by Tomporowski (2003) from the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. Physical activity also improves a child's mood by decreasing stress and anxiety, and increases self-esteem because of the hormones released during physical activity (Biddle, 2011; Ekeland, 2004; Parfitt, 2005).

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