PE as health

We think that physical eduation (PE) should be about growing and maintaining a health body. Our approach to PE at MIS is to think about giving children habits so that they recognise that doing exercise 3-5 times a week is as necessary as brushing one's teeth twice a day. We may prefer to do exercise in a sporting activity that we enjoy (play touch rugby, or five a side football) but in reality we must still do activities throughout the week in order for our bodies to remain healthy. We show case techniques for the children to to and then we encourage them to actually do these activities in their own time outside of school hours.

We still do many activities at school that require gym shorts and gym shoes, so it is not as if we absolve ourself from doing the work. Children typically do a PE session once a week; they walk to the Aquatic centre at a brisk pace but learn road crossing skills on the way; they of course do their swimming; and they do a separate sports activity that is different from their PE.

This approach is certainly a first in Fiji but it is also, as far as we can tell, a first in the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand.

Our PE programme has developed into looking at three core areas of health:

  1. Functional strength
  2. Aerobic endurance
  3. Flexibility and mobility

The Health Benefits of Our PE Programme

Functional strength

Functional strength training, it has been shown, helps to keep your bones strong. If they don’t remain strong you can get ‘brittle bones’ that break easily. Functional strength also helps keep your posture good which means your internal organs are not being squeezed or pressed (that’s why it’s a good idea to sit up straight in class and not slouch).

Endurance / Aerobics

This refers to your ability to keep doing something athletic for a long time. It might be a long distance run, or it might be in a dance aerobic class, or it might be to swim a long distance. You can only do this if your blood system has grown enough to supply blood to all your tissues. If your body tissue has good blood supply then it can heal tissues well (gives it food and oxygen) and also take away poisons that have accummulated near the tissue.


Your joints need to be kept smooth and lubricated in order that they function well and don’t ‘freeze’ up. Most of your joints are designed to work across 3600, of movement and most in 3D. Regular movement across the whole range of movement, helps to keep the surface of the joints smooth (it sands away small built up material), and lubricated. Flexible people do not need to have their hips replaced or their spinal column fused, or their shoulders ‘unfrozen’.

We've written about this approach in our blog here

MIS was fortunate to receive funding from the SPC to be the lead agency in a piece of research that looked at this approach with two other local public schools. Our results show that our approach does make a difference in the ability for children to start to become responsible for their own athletic performance.

Ministry of Education registration number (if you're interested) is SF: 8239.          Contact Us