Sport Waikato's Taakaro Ora initiative hosted three professional learning days so far in 2021 for the Health & Physical Education lead teachers of Te Pae Here Kaahui Ako (community of learning).

With a focus on integrating the Health and Physical Education curriculum across the other curriculum areas, the Term 1 professional development day was attended by 27 teachers and held at the Enderley Community Centre. Through physical activity that incorporated numeracy, literacy, languages and many others, this was followed up with how to integrate Health and Physical Education into existing school planning to allow teachers to work smarter not harder. 

We were also fortunate enough to partner with Family Planning who shared their new resource that is available to schools to assist teachers in the delivery of Relationships and Sexuality Education, and Sport Waikato's Professional Learning Partner (Early Childhood) Robyn Polley delivered a ‘Spatial Awareness’ session which helped the teachers to understand why some students do things a little differently to others.  

Taakaro Ora has since facilitated a follow up online meeting between the Ministry of Education, Family Planning and the Te Pae Here teachers around the Ministry of Education ‘Relationships and Sexuality’ resource to ensure each school is meeting the requirements as relationships and sexuality is one of the seven key areas of learning in the Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Some of the feedback we received from this day:  "I have already started using some of the ideas from Robyn Polley's session with a group of learners who have poor core muscle strength and difficulty crossing the midline. I shared her resources with my team and our DP."

"Changing mindsets about the Health and PE curriculum. Not an extra. it can be added to what we already do."

"I will be looking to Integrate the P.E curriculum (and Te Whare Tapa Whaa) throughout other areas of my planning eg. Math and Reading. The icebreakers also got me thinking of ways/ activities to use in my programme that can be integrated throughout other curriculum areas."

As part of Taakaro Ora’s long term sustainability and with an eye to transition, this next professional learning day was entirely teacher led. Gareth from Rototuna Senior High School held a session around EOTC and how to ensure the process is streamlined to allow our tamariki to get as many opportunities outside the classroom as possible.  

Kirsten Petrie from the University of Waikato spoke around challenging the status quo of whole school events such as Cross Country. The teachers then had some sharing time to discuss what is working in their own schools and problem solve some issues that other teachers were having around Health and Physical Education.  


Sport Waikato's Community Connector Garth Thomas than shared some of his work and explained how he can help in terms of school access, Good Sports, Tu Manawa funding and much more. The day was completed with Bankwood School delivering some physical activity around the topic of Matariki.

The takeaways from the teachers were:

"Practical EOTC information, Food for thought with cross country and practical games that can be adapted for learning. Love working with such a positive and passionate team of teachers and facilitators."

"Thoroughly enjoyed the mau rakau with Jimmy, learning about the different parts and a bit about the history then followed with the actions. I love how that school has set a side a time during the week for children to go to an area of learning that they have selected. They're lucky to have someone with this talent. Of course, I enjoyed listening to Kirsten Petrie and the questions she had for us around Cross Country, I feel you guys prepared us well for her visit as we have already started thinking about what specific things we want our children to be learning by talking to our students before, during and after. The discussions that we have where we generate a lot of our learning and reflecting."

"I enjoyed the collaboration with other people - the discussion in small groups when answering some of Kirsten's questions was great. It was interesting hearing the perceptions from other schools and where they sit with Cross Country (on this occasion). Also the games (Huff and Puff activities) that Garth ran was excellent. This provided quick up-skill and instant ideas that could be used the following day. The resource that came with this will be brilliant to share with other teachers - a small resource that they can easily use/ have in their pocket if need be when delivering some quick outdoor (or indoor) H/PE sessions."

"Putting more effort into planning. Getting specific outcomes for tamariki. Remembering the tamariki need to feel comfortable and confident when on show."

The third professional learning day was moved to the last day of term as the original date was during lockdown. We opened this day to allow our teachers to bring the student teachers with them as well.


Dave McHugh from Woodstock School presented his learnings from the PENZ (Physical Education NZ) conference around Hauora in the classroom - Dave was also crowned ‘Outstanding beginning teacher’ at the PENZ conference. We then had a discussion and some learnings with Sarah Bolten from Life Education and Sarah Agar from the Waikato DHB around how to teach the Food and Nutrition component of the Health and Physical Education curriculum. We wrapped the afternoon up with the introduction of a new resource, ‘MoveWell’ which was delivered by Matt at RJHS.

The feedback from the teachers was once again really positive:

"Move well resource and using it for children to modify games in our lessons. Also was good hearing about nutrition in a different light than what we have grown up with, not focusing on healthy and unhealthy."
"It was great to hear about linking Te Whare Tapa Wha with games and also nutrition. I would love to take this back to share. The move well resource is wonderful! It would be great to send a weekly game out to the staff (depending on needs etc of the school as a whole) to hopefully make it easier for staff to try new games and as a reminder the book/resource is there."

"A staff PD on the MoveWell resource will be fantastic. Generally, it is the ideas that teachers struggle with. Unpacking these games and how they can be adapted to different age groups will be an awesome place to start."

The value of these professional learning days are clear from the feedback provided by the teachers in attendance. The days are a perfect example of our new Sport Waikato approach - ensuring teachers are learning, developing and provided with tangible and practicle ideas and resource to enable them to pass on to their whole school. 

The model of teachers delivering to their students and teachers delivering to teachers, emphasises the new way of working for Sport Waikato and shows a true model of sustainability.  This enables physical education to be embedded into the curriculum in a way that doesn't increase the workload but puts the holistic needs of the child at the forefront. 

Integrating physical education into the school curriculum

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