Physical Education has changed, join the movement!

August 9, 2023

With the realisation of our new FAB – Fitness and Athletics Building – our curriculum has a plethora of new and exciting possibilities and a FABulous progressive learning environment!

When arriving at Munich International School in August 2021, I was given the opportunity to integrate school's strategic plan into the curriculum for Physical Education. As a team, we approached this task by, first of all, updating our departmental mission statement.

In Germany, Physical Education is often referred to as ‘sports class’. Sport is highly organised, structured, and competitive. But Physical Education focuses on the whole-body development and on the process and progress of gaining different skills such as expanding physical literacy, understanding brain-body connection, building positive relationships, group dynamics, personal goals, individual and group health, leadership and more.

Through sports and activities, our students are taught to incorporate their understanding into a lifelong healthy active lifestyle and learn to positively impact society. The interconnection of health and wellbeing is given personal meaning as our students are challenged and inspired to be adaptive and consistently seek improvement. Apart from the obvious physical motor-skill development, we also focus on social emotional learning and the extension of learned principles beyond PHE subject matter.

The school’s mission statement stays at the core of all decisions we make in relation to the development of our curriculum.

Differences between ‘old’ and ‘new’

If you are curious to learn about the differences, please read through the examples listed below that compare old-school PE programs with our mission statement aligned curriculum:

Old-school program: Skill related, sport based, team games (basketball, football, volleyball, dodgeball), units in line with offers in the athletics program (unit of basketball during basketball season), rote learning of rules, teacher to be the only one to give feedback on performance, extrinsic motivation through grades, emphasis on competition, students to wait in lines, movement as punishment…

Mission statement aligned program: Increase understanding of how to lead an active healthy life, gain understanding of how to learn new skills and progress these skills to internalise them, learn how to coach yourself and how to coach others, teacher to guide the learning process, lifetime activities, inclusive for all, emphasis on planning, progress, reflection and refinement, students take leadership, differentiated approach with multi levels of difficulty, find joy in movement…

Download the complete table and find out about the differences in other aspects such as grouping, assessment, units of work, resources and teachers.

Shared responsibilities

If you are a parent, you might want to know how you can inspire your children to become healthy, happy and active human beings. Through positive role-modelling, you can set a great example of how your children can own their physical literacy journey and stay physically and mentally well. Some ideas as to how to support your child are:

  1. Be physical active yourself (The WHO recommends for adults to do at least 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity / aerobic activity per week);
  2. Limit your own time being sedentary;
  3. Make exercise part of your family’s lifestyle; and  
  4. Limit screen time before bedtime and allow for enough hours of sleep (No screens in the bedroom!)