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New Curriculum on Physical and Health Education Being Rolled Out

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Coaches from the Department of Sports and others that work within the primary school system are learning more about the new curriculum guiding health and wellness education.

Michelle Sutton, Health and Wellness Coordinator in the Ministry of Education, is sharing the information with about 30 coaches attending a two-day workshop at the Media Centre at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium. The workshop is organised by the Ministry of Sports. It began on Tuesday (September 08, 2020).

The new curriculum was developed by the Ministry of Education and is a core component of the Education Sector Plan 2017-2021. The component, called Physical and Health Education, emphasises children developing and leading healthy lifestyles. It was designed to cover the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, but is being piloted at the primary level.

“Within the Ministry of Education, we indicated that with this new curriculum there are certain core competencies we want children to develop and to leave school comfortable [with] and one of them is leading an active and healthy lifestyle,” Ms. Sutton stated. “So, if we are saying [that] we want all children to leave school leading an active and healthy lifestyle that means we have to start with our youngest right through to our eldest students who are leaving and in this case we are starting with our primary school students.”

This is expected to result in reduced cases of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle ailments as children transition into adolescence and adulthood.

Communicable diseases are also covered in the new curriculum. Ms. Sutton said that there is a section which covers measures to protect against the flu. This section has been modified to cover COVID-19 as it has similar symptoms as the common cold.

“With this curriculum, they (students) are understanding the importance of wearing a mask and washing their hands because in order to safeguard yourself and others we have to maintain a certain level of personal hygiene,” Ms. Sutton added. “So COVID-19 has actually brought us an opportunity to actually bring a real-life understanding to health and wellness, in particular making sure that you are staying safe within yourself and the community.”

A similar workshop for coaches on the new Physical and Health Education curriculum will be held in Nevis.

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