On the front foot: an Australian Health and Physical Education (HPE) perspective.
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When considering the theme ‘Towards building a new sport system’, it is important that as for any structure, there are strong foundations. Sport is a logical extension of a school’s physical education (PE) program (Commonwealth of Australia, 1992). Furthermore, research suggests that the optimum time for children to learn and refine their motor skills and to be introduced to positive PE experiences is during preschool and early primary school years. It is therefore argued that to build an ideal sport system, as suggested by the title, we need to ‘begin on the front foot’ through quality Health and Physical Education (HPE) implementation for children. More so, an ideal sport system requires an inclusive, developmentally appropriate and progressive infrastructure within schools that enhance success and opportunity, and ultimately health and wellbeing for all. This concept is supported by the inaugural ICHPER-SD world congress theme, ‘Child Health and the School’. The purpose of this paper is to share five essential guiding pillars from the recent Australian HPE curriculum reform; educative, strength-based, movement, health literacy, and critical inquiry (Macdonald, 2013). It is proposed that these pillars offer direction for building a sport system and are examined through investigating successful practical examples.
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