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David Street School

Students are visibly more motivated and inspired to be active in the playground.

Aim/Focus: Ethos and Organisation

  • To give the students a voice and ownership of their own physical activity (PA) through a Kids’ Physical Activity Council (KPAC).

Background

Contributing (years 1–6); School roll – 372

In September 2006, we ran a Move It day to introduce students and the community to the wide variety of physical activity (PA) opportunities available and highlight the school’s involvement in the School Community Physical Education Project (SCPAP). Part of this day involved gathering data from classes and staff, which told us that students and staff wanted further opportunities to experience the variety of physical equipment and activities sampled on Move It day.

After Move It day, the Lead Teachers wished to further develop a whole school approach and decided to trial a teacher-selected KPAC as a means of keeping students involved in their own PA choices.

In October 2006, we ran a basketball fun day, which provided a small profit. From the feedback received on Move It day about wanting more variety of PA equipment and opportunities, the lead team decided to trial giving classes a small amount of money each to choose some equipment from a list provided.

Staff had noticed that a lot of PA class equipment was being left outside, lost, and broken. The initial KPAC came up with several suggestions for how to solve this problem. The SCPAP lead team felt the KPAC was a good vehicle for students to solve their own problems.

In November 2006, when the senior school students were voting on the year 6 Leadership Cup, it was discovered that the school did not have a wide variety of leadership opportunities outside class programmes. The students had difficulty identifying what a leader was and choosing students to receive this award.

The SCPAP lead team wanted to discover what type of PA opportunities the students would like and to give them a 'voice'. This was identified as part of our PA action plan for 2007. The SCPAP lead team, with the support of the management team and staff, decided to further develop the KPAC in 2007.

Process undertaken

Phases/Steps

  • Classes chose one representative each, using a variety of methods.
  • Regular meetings with the KPAC group are held fortnightly. Two Lead Teachers attend each meeting, with their role being to initiate discussion. The Lead Teachers record ideas and discussion points, and distribute these to the KPAC members in the form of minutes.
  • Following the KPAC meetings, the students get a copy of the minutes, which they use to report back to their class. Included in the minutes are one or two ideas to discuss with their class, to bring back to the next KPAC meeting.
  • Class discussion comments are recorded in a classroom scrapbook with the minutes from the meetings, and this is taken to the next meeting.
  • Students bring to each meeting feedback from their class discussions, based on the ideas that came out of the previous meeting. General discussion is also promoted in these meetings.
  • Suggestions brought up in the meeting are discussed among the KPAC and then referred to the appropriate people for resolution, if necessary approaching their classes, teachers, parents, or the caretaker, Principal, Board of Trustees, Adults Physical Activity Council (APAC), and office staff.

Outcomes

Initially, the students were passive participants and reluctant to share their ideas or class feedback. Now a more confident and interactive KPAC has emerged.

After the first few meetings, it was discovered that the students needed help in the form of a written discussion topic to take back to their classes. This enabled them to create discussion within their classrooms around the topics discussed at the KPAC meeting, and then have a written record to share at the next meeting. Having this record in front of them at meetings encouraged their 'student voice' and ensured the lines of communication between the classes and KPAC were open.

Students chose their own range of PA equipment in the classrooms, after being given a budget of $150 per class. Students reflected on the equipment in their classes and then the KPAC, using the six hat thinking process, collectively shared these evaluations. A further $100 was allocated to each class, and through their reflections on the previous gear a new order was made. This gave all of the students a voice and ownership of their classroom PA gear.

The school target (vision) that was developed, after consultation with students, staff, and parents, was discussed at class level and ideas were brought to the next KPAC meeting. The target was adapted to include the ideas and voice of the students, staff, and community. Throughout the year, we have linked KPAC discussion with the school’s target for PA.

The KPAC identified playground markings as a need. The Principal asked the KPAC to consider what playground markings it would like to have painted on the concrete at school. The students took this back to their classes and then reported back on the choices. This was recorded, and the most popular choices were painted on the concrete. (It was later noticed by the students that some of the paint is coming off the lines, and a small group of them volunteered to write and send photos to the contractor to ask for the lines to be repainted.)

Reflection

Weaknesses

Students have difficulty seeing the big picture, and the teachers need to provide concrete examples to guide the group’s thinking. We are aware that this could be a developmental stage.

The teachers run the meeting and motivate the conversation, linking the students’ ideas back to how this is improving PA opportunities for students (vision). However, this is changing direction as time goes on.

Selecting KPAC representatives is difficult because the students are not well known at the beginning of the year.

The initiative is new to everyone and so everything has been a learning curve. It is slowly unfolding, and we have developed new and better ways of doing things.

The age range can be a barrier for questioning and idea sharing, with younger students more reluctant to volunteer their classes’ ideas.

Students identified that some classes do not always have time to hold class meetings prior to the KPAC meeting.

When KPAC representatives are absent from school on Fridays, they do not get to feed back their class ideas to the meetings. However, KPAC minutes are circulated after each meeting.

Language is not always child specific; the Lead Teachers are able to clarify words to ensure the younger students understand.

It was difficult to get the students as a group to come prepared and on time, but this was often due to the meetings being held on Fridays, directly after Bible in Schools and before the class email notices had been read.

Successes

Communication between students and adults. The students get to have their say and share everyone’s ideas (for example, ideas for the painted lines).

The KPAC representative informs the class of events, feedback, and what is going on within the school.

The KPAC is organising some productive and effective initiatives around the school.

Everyone is more aware of students’ interests.

Students get to choose their PA equipment and take ownership of it, so there is a greater variety of PA gear throughout the school.

Other students are encouraged to be physically active. Students are visibly more motivated and inspired to be active in the playground.

New lines on the concrete and field areas of the school have resulted in new games being invented and played.

New sports and PA initiatives have been introduced through Sport Waikato representatives coming to KPAC meetings. The regular support and visits from the Active Schools Facilitator (ASF) have been extremely helpful for the KPAC students and teachers.

Students have had opportunities to speak to the APAC, Home and School and Board of Trustees about the KPAC and their PA ideas.

Next steps

Staff ideas

  • Build up leadership, questioning, and developing ideas within our KPAC group by focusing on the skills of a good leader, for example through brainstorming, leadership courses, and so on
  • Establish how the classes are feeding back and supporting the KPAC representative. Look at different ways classes do this to encourage regular class meetings
  • Consider combining the KPAC and Student Council
  • Give guidelines and ideas to staff about what an effective KPAC feeding forward session in classes might look like. Show ways staff could make it look more exciting, such as by using a graffiti wall, question box, or sharing wall
  • Have a deputy KPAC representative to attend meetings if the KPAC representative is absent from school
  • Lunchtime sport sessions run by the KPAC
  • Invite outside clubs/groups in for a Try It Out day
  • Ensure we have students with a mixture of interests on the KPAC, such as sporty students and students with other interests.

Student ideas

  • Senior students suggested having two representatives from each senior class, to give more opportunities for students to be involved and to cover students who are absent at meeting times
  • Lunchtime games organised by the KPAC
  • PA committee to organise storage systems for classroom gear
  • Rules for how to play games put up around the school
  • Greater variety of PA gear that is durable
  • Another Move It/fun sports day organised by KPAC
  • Healthy food initiatives such as a cooking day organised by the KPAC
  • More varied PA introduced, such as dancing, or rollerblade tournaments
  • Lunchtime sports run by KPAC
  • Try It Out day
  • Photos around the school and a noticeboard for sport visible outside.

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