Online Physical Education Programs During ‘New Normal’ is Important

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a 180-degree change in the life of all individuals-adults and children alike. To contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, most governments around the world have announced the temporary closure of schools. According to UNESCO, close to 300 million learners have been affected. The routine of children is tremendously disturbed as there is no distinction between school time and playtime.

Studies have shown that children return from summer breaks with lower levels of fitness due to the lack of physical activity. In the current scenario, the fitness of children is expected to dramatically worsen as they would be indoors for a longer duration of time with no adequate physical activities. The only solution to the problem is making home a child’s new playground.

Several research studies have shown that students tend to retain 25% to 60% more content while learning digitally. While a quick shift has been noticed from offline to online space as far as academics are concerned, the transition has been slow/absent for physical education or play. COVID or No COVID children still need to play for their health, immunity as well as happiness.

One may argue that there are numerous videos on YouTube and other digital media. However, expecting all children to proactively access these videos every day, is easier said than done.

Guiding children through the apt physical activity, teaching/correcting them as and when necessary and motivating them to do the activities/exercises are also important and require the (virtual) supervision of a physical education trainer. The distinction between adults and children is figuring out the age-appropriate activities and personalizing them for children.

Krish Iyengar, Head of Sportz Village Schools, says “The digital medium can also incorporate a points system such as a leader board that can be used to foster competitiveness. The competitiveness in turn can serve as a motivation for children to do the activities. With the ability to shoot quick videos, we are seeing innovative ideas from children shared in various forums.”

Several innovative digital programs have been developed to ensure that children are fit during school closures. Online physical education programs of such nature are gradually gaining momentum, with 79% of parents being comfortable in letting their child participate in home-based sports events.

World Health Organization recommends at least 60 minutes of reasonably rigorous playtime every day for a growing child to be healthier and fitter. Therefore, let us keep our children fit, healthy and happy.

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