A ‘hidden’ curriculum of Health and Physical Education (HPE): an exploration of developed physical activities within primary school grounds

Year: 2015

Author: Hyndman, Brendon

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Australian Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum notes the importance of primary school students developing decision-making, creativity and problem solving skills during physical activities. A key developmental context for primary school students to enhance such skills is within school grounds. School grounds are emerging as a ‘hidden’ HPE curriculum. Within school grounds, students can work individually and in small groups to practice fundamental movement skills, physical play, manipulation of equipment, spatial awareness and overall movement competence. The size, design, features and utilisation of school grounds can be a complementary setting to HPE classes for students to transfer, develop, trial and revise physical skills. Despite this, the relationship between the outside environment and the learner has often been overlooked or perceived differently to inside learning spaces. There is a paucity of literature exploring the capacity of primary school students to utilise different types of materials and the available space within school grounds for the development of physical activities. The aim of this research was to explore the types of physical activities within school grounds that primary school students can develop via three different equipment scenarios (a) – school grounds with no equipment; (b) – school grounds with fixed equipment; (c) – school grounds with movable equipment. Direct observation and field notes were conducted across each area of the school grounds of two primary schools. Descriptive accounts of primary school students’ developed physical activities within each equipment scenario were analysed via a process of open coding. Emerging physical activity themes can provide further understanding of the types of physical activities students can develop when engaging with different equipment materials within school grounds. The findings can continue to improve knowledge of a hidden HPE curriculum beyond curricular classes.

Contact Details

Dr Brendon Hyndman
T: 08 8946 7101
E: brendon.hyndman@cdu.edu.au

Charles Darwin University
Building Orange 2, Level 3, Room 4
Casuarina Campus
Darwin, 0909