Covid-19

Watching videos can keep pupils fit while schools are closed

22 March 2020 - 00:00 By Prega Govender
A Pridwin Preparatory pupil follows an online PE workout as his dad supervises.
A Pridwin Preparatory pupil follows an online PE workout as his dad supervises.
Image: Supplied

A Johannesburg school is keeping pupils fit during the extended holidays with physical education lessons online.

Pupils from grades 0-3 at Pridwin Preparatory have been doing a daily 10- to 15-minute workout, including a dance routine, by watching video demonstrations on laptops and tablets.

Exercises include 30 jumping jacks, 20 bends and 15 squats.

The daily routine is one of several online activities for pupils since schools closed on Wednesday.

A mother of a grade 3 pupil said she and her husband found the exercise video amusing and entertaining, but “it was clearly important to get the children moving”.

“The school decided that PE was an important component as the children are cooped up at home at the moment. We are very grateful that the school understands the importance of physical education.”

Her eight-year-old son said: “I find it fun but also annoying because you have to keep doing these weird things.”

Pridwin principal Selwyn Marx said that two videos were uploaded daily onto Google Classroom — one on stretching exercises and the other demonstrating a dance routine and cardio activities.

He said that the videos were sourced by the school’s head of sport and that each day’s learning session for pupils at home began with physical activity.

UK fitness trainer Joe Wicks, known as the Body Coach, will be running virtual PE classes for children across the world from tomorrow to make sure they are keeping fit at home.

Wicks will host a 30-minute workout on his YouTube channel every weekday.

Riaan van der Berg, a member of the governing body of Fairland Primary School in Johannesburg, said it had taken a decision to be “100% ready” for remote learning by April 1.

“A model of a pre-recorded lesson using a teacher’s voice has already been done. Should there be an extension of the holidays, we will be ready to offer the lessons remotely,” said Van der Berg.

He said pupils and parents would be provided with a link to access the lesson on their cellphones or laptops.

Commenting on the catch-up plan for matrics, the South African Principals’ Association, which has a membership of 3,000 headmasters, said schools have prepared worksheets, particularly for grade 12 pupils, to work on at home.

The association’s national president, David de Korte, said schools were thinking of extending the day by one or two periods, especially for the matric classes, when they re-open on April 14 to make up for lost teaching time.

“Schools, especially in poor areas, will open their computer facilities before lessons start in the morning and will remain open until 5pm to help learners to work online.”

Mathanzima Mweli, director-general of the department of basic education, said in a statement that it would support provinces in their implementation of a comprehensive recovery plan.


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