Students returning to school are starting to adjust to new school environments. This adaptation often involves having multiple classes, with different teachers, at different locations, and many more students. It can also mean that you become the youngest again, and managing your time.
Most people who are just starting out have one major concern: making new friends and feeling connected to others. However, most people are socially and emotionally settled faster than they expected.
The physical environment is another challenge for secondary school students. This environment can have a negative impact on students’ health habits. Secondary school students spend more time sitting and standing than they do being active. This is because they are less likely to have access to places that encourage physical activity.
Secondary And Primary School Environments
Research from Australia found that students who move from primary to secondary schooling are less active and more sedentary than those who attend both primary and secondary schools.
Secondary schools in Australia have a high number of chairs, lounges, empty spaces, and picnic tables. Primary schools, on the other hand, offer a wide range of facilities, including climbing frames and surface markings.
An extensive review of many types of studies found a link between high-quality, well-maintained facilities at secondary schools and students’ physical activity needs. It was crucial to have access to a soccer field and be able to play in it, as opposed to confined spaces.
A school audit conducted outdoors in Australia found that many secondary schools have poor maintenance, litter, graffiti, little coloured markings/murals, vegetable gardens, and other spaces that are not suitable for informal play. Another concern is the lack of space and storage for bikes, areas where smoking is permitted, as well as poor facilities for changing in.
What Needs Of Secondary School Students?
Primary school students learn fundamental skills like how to catch and kick a ball. Secondary school students look for facilities that offer more adventure-oriented activities (such as climbing walls and rope swings/courses), and advanced opportunities to challenge their physical skills (such gymnastics, skating and other sporting and fitness facilities).
However, funding can be difficult for these facilities. Secondary school students also suggest walking programs and frequent community excursions to places like swimming pools or baseball diamonds. Secondary school students often suggest facilities that are different from their current school. Some just hang out in canteens or locker bays.
What Is The Point?
Secondary schools often offer students more chances to sit and watch than primary schools. This can impact students physical health. National and international reports show that secondary school students are at greater risk of developing physical problems. Secondary school can lead to an increase in sedentary behaviour. More students exceed daily sedentary behaviour screen time guidelines (just two hours for recreation/entertainment) and use more electronic devices.
Secondary school students are less likely to follow the national recommendations for physical activity. They should be engaging in moderate to vigorous activity every day. This includes activities that make you sweat or puffy. These recommendations are essential to prevent lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, good health, and healthy movement habits.
There are also fewer secondary school-aged students who participate in both non-organised (such kicking a ball around with friends) or organised (such a team sport) physical activity after primary school. Participation in school physical activity is most high at the end or middle of primary schooling. It decreases with age. It is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle of physical activity during the transition from primary to secondary schooling.
What Can We Do For Secondary School Students?
Discuss with students their interests and needs before and during the transition to secondary school. What will they find challenging and engaging? You can also take them to local recreation facilities if facilities or programs are not available.
Prioritize the number and variety of physical activities and the maintenance and accessibility to exercise facilities. Both within and beyond the classroom, you can promote activity programs. Schools can promote active transportation (walking or biking to school), organized sport, classes, recess periods, active lesson breaks, or recess periods, and encourage students to participate in these activities.
To prevent sedentary behaviour in schools, reduce the amount of time spent sitting in secondary schools. Encourage social interaction doesn’t have to mean sitting down. Allow for short breaks during prolonged and unavoidable electronic use. You can also perform movement tasks such as dancing to music or moving to the beat.
Address The Mental, Social, And Policy
There are many strategies that can be used to address the mental, social, and policy issues in student’s physical environments. These strategies could help students connect socially (team/groupwork, including family or role modeling), mentally (solving their problems and setting goals for motivation), academically and spiritually (giving time to reflect). This can be replicated in the local community.
Professional development is required for staff to understand, adapt and deliver holistic health strategies in schools and to provide inclusive sporting and physical activities. Offer physical activities that build muscles and bones, such as resistance bands or bodyweight exercises. This will help you build muscles and fitness, as well as prevent injuries.
Secondary schools are complex environments. Therefore, we need to consider the physical environment for adolescents as they transition from primary schooling.