by Mark Ralph, Physical & Health Education Team Leader
Physical education provides students the opportunity to enhance their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. At YIS, we strongly believe in the link between students being physically active and achieving academic success. Our program is designed to keep students as active as possible, all the way through school and beyond, with the mission of students becoming 'fit for life'.
In a recent study conducted by Nicole Black et al, 2018, it was widely suggested that aside from increasing sports skills and habits, sports participation enhances the development of cognitive skills and other transferable skills that encourage success, such as discipline, confidence, persistence and team spirit. However, the same study also found that 'Inadequate school sports facilities can lead to a decrease in adulthood exercise'.
With this in mind, and the opportunity to design the new campus to our exact specifications, the meetings, discussions and planning sessions commenced. The new campus has given us the opportunity to expand and improve the facilities for Physical and Health Education, and Athletics. The increase in space not only gives us more scope for the number of simultaneous PE classes we can have but more importantly, it increases the breadth of activities students can be exposed to, allowing them to truly find their passion for sport and exercise, which we hope will continue through their life.
With the inclusion of the swimming pool, we are excited about the increased opportunities for all students to experience not only a rigorous swimming program, but the opportunity to explore life-saving, water-based invasion games, kayaking, and much more. Our current facilities do not allow for us to inquire into many individual activities, but the inclusion of the swimming pool will allow for this, giving students an opportunity to excel in this area. The pool will also create opportunities deeply connected to our Expeditions program which involves scuba diving, kayaking, rafting and swimming. Our Underwater Explorers club, for example, will be able to practice their scuba skills in the pool rather than going off-site as they do now.
The double gym is going to increase our indoor space by 100%, allowing students to play on full, professional-sized courts, with state of the art equipment. This space will allow teachers to facilitate even more engaging and authentic ways of inquiring into such concepts as 'systems, interactions, adaptations, relationships, refinement, community and many more'. A retractable divider between the two gyms will create two separate spaces to allow classes to be conducted simultaneously without disturbing each other. A spectator balcony between the gyms and the swimming pool will provide a superb aerial view of athletic competitions in both areas. Separate ES and Secondary changing rooms will be built, expanding spaces and decreasing transition time between classes.
The focal point of the athletic facilities is bound to be the outdoor, regulation-sized state of the art athletic field, which is sure to become a community space loved and used by all. Not only will this be used to facilitate learning in PHE, but it will allow students space to play, explore, socialize and grow as learners. The field will be used for soccer, field hockey, PHE classes and recess. Having a field on campus that can host after-school events is vital in creating and maintaining a strong ‘one-school culture’ by adding an area for congregation and celebration. We are dreaming of seeing our sports teams competing on the field where they have spent their day learning, being cheered on by peers from all grade levels and by parents, and demonstrating the values of YIS.
We are very excited by the prospect of facilitating learning in such inspiring surroundings, and we are hopeful that we can continue to inspire our students to have a passion for sport and exercise beyond YIS. The sporting facilities on our new campus are ideal for achieving this goal.
This is the first article in a series elaborating on the design of the facilities at our new campus, and their contribution towards improving learning for students, staff and parents at YIS.