PE teachers at Mount Stromlo High School in Waramanga, Weston Creek use innovative ways to keep kids exercising during lockdown

Mount Stromlo High School PE teachers Tom Leddy, Angelica Pahina, Marty Desmet and James Farrell. Picture: Keegan Carroll
Mount Stromlo High School PE teachers Tom Leddy, Angelica Pahina, Marty Desmet and James Farrell. Picture: Keegan Carroll

High school PE classes might evoke memories of gruelling beep tests, musty sports uniforms, sickly sweet fumes of aerosol deodorant and unflattering bright lights in small change rooms.

For some Canberra students, lockdown is a welcome relief from the humiliation of being picked last (again) and coming last (again); while others would be missing the much-needed exercise, banter and break from screens.

But for the students of Mount Stromlo High School in Waramanga, it's an opportunity to dress up as a pirate and drive around Weston Creek.

Oh, wait - that's the PE teachers.

Mount Stromlo High School PE teachers Tom Leddy, Angelica Pahina, Marty Desmet and James Farrell. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Mount Stromlo High School PE teachers Tom Leddy, Angelica Pahina, Marty Desmet and James Farrell. Picture: Keegan Carroll

James Farrell, Tom Leddy, Angelica Pahina and Marty Desmet spent Tuesday, September 14 videoing themselves hiding chocolate gold coins and gift cards for students to find.

"Every day, we've been posting videos to try and encourage the students to get up and do stuff," Mr Farrell said.

"Hopefully, kids will be able to have one near their house. They can ride their bikes or walk and try and get the treasure before the other kids. So that's them getting up and moving."

Other lessons have included cooking challenges, milk crate workouts, line dances and trick shot competitions.

"[Teachers] can go watch it, it's on your Google Classroom page. Get the kids to go and look at it and get them to upload themselves," Mr Farrell said.

"We've got other videos where we encourage kids to take a hike. And they have to guess where the hike is, and they take a photo with the final destination."

PE lessons were the first classes dropped by primary schools in Tasmania, a recent study by Flinders University associate professor Shane Pill found.

Mount Stromlo High School PE teachers Tom Leddy, Angelica Pahina and Marty Desmet. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Mount Stromlo High School PE teachers Tom Leddy, Angelica Pahina and Marty Desmet. Picture: Keegan Carroll

However, Mr Farrell said they were one of the most important subjects to keep up during lockdown.

"I'd argue that PE is probably one of the most important subjects during this time, because kids can get very stressed in lockdown," he said.

"They don't have many outlets and actually getting outside and doing exercise can be really great not only for the physical side of things but their mental health as well.

"Actually getting out and being physical plays a large part in kids doing well in those other subjects. So it's sort of like a symbiotic relationship in a sense."

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This story The PE teachers keeping kids moving in lockdown with chocolate coins and swords first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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