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The classroom and school environment that teachers create, has a significant impact on the health
and wellbeing of the teacher and their students (Murray, 2017). In regards to research and personal
experiences, it is vital that the school environment is calm, safe, warm and supportive of diverse
students (Murray, 2017). Moreover, the teacher needs to show empathy towards the feelings of
colleagues and children in order to promote an environment where everyone feels comfortable to
explore their thoughts and feelings (Murray, 2017). These traits that can be provided by educators
fulfil parts of Maslows hierarchy of needs.

Maslow (1987) formulated a hierarchy of needs that are based on various life traits, deemed essential
for humans to experience maximum psychological health and wellbeing. Maslow believed that in
order to develop self-actualization people needed to fulfil the four additional needs; psychological,
safety, love and belonging and self-esteem (Maslow, 1987). This framework is called a hierarchy,
because like a pyramid the higher level of needs rest upon the foundation of the lower level needs
(Maslow, 1987). For example, if a child has a poor family life their ability to develop self-esteem and
self-actualization will be significantly difficult. The Australian Curriculum strand health and physical
education, guides teachers in supporting the health and wellbeing of their students so that self-
actualization is as achievable as possible, for diverse children (ACARA, 2017).

The Australian Curriculum HPE strand aims to develop each students knowledge, understanding and
skills to enable them to:
Access information about taking positive action to protect, enhance and advocate personal
health, wellbeing, safety and physical activity, throughout their life.
Develop a range of skills to promote personal identify and wellbeing in order to develop and
manage respectful relationships.
Acquire and apply movement skills to participate in a range of physical activities.
Develop thorough understanding of the importance of movement skills and appreciate their
significance to personal, social, cultural, environmental and health practices and outcomes.
Analysis how ever-changing personal and contextual factors shape understandings and
opportunities for health and physical activity within and beyond their community (ACARA,

The primary goal of the HPE curriculum is to help children understand the skills they require to make
healthy, safe and active choices about their own and others health and wellbeing (ACARA, 2017).
The structure of this subject takes a strength based approach and recognises that all students will
have particular strengths and weakness in regards to their health and wellbeing and that their family
and communities have varying levels of access to resources to aid their future sustainability (ACARA,
2017). The health and wellbeing of individual students also depends on a number of contextual
factors that indefinitely impact on individual decisions and behaviours. Given that each student has
differing circumstances, the need for educators to have a range of strategies enacted to support
diverse students health and wellbeing is vital.

Strategies for the classroom

Strategy Description Link to the curriculum

1. Exercise games Take children outside at least 3 times each Participate in play that promotes
and activities during week and allow them to engage in physical engagement with outdoor settings
class time with a activity games and movement in an and the natural
theoretical focus on outdoor settings and the natural environment (ACPPS007)
why exercise is environment. Eg: Playing on the Participate in play that promotes
important and the playground, playing games like musical engagement with outdoor settings
benefits students statues etc. These activities can be both and the natural
receive. structured and free, so children learn how environment (ACPPS007).
to engage in the environment with and (ACARA, 2017).
Year level: without a specific purpose.
Foundation In the classroom students will learn about
the benefits of physical movement for their
health and wellbeing.
Teachers can also do a more thorough job
at promoting and encouraging children to
partake in physical activity outside of
school, both free activities and ones that
are of expense.
2. Provide sufficient Have a safe space for children to go to if Identify and practice emotional
avenues for children they are feeling upset, sad, stressed or want responses that account for own and
to express their to talk about something. others feelings (ACPPS020).
feelings, in order to The teacher will have a letterbox on their (ACARA, 2017).
reduce childhood desk that students can record their name,
depression. emotions and/or thoughts on paper and post
it to the teacher. This enables the teacher to
Year level: 1 & 2 take them to the safe place at an appropriate
time and talk to them about it.
The teacher openly talks about their feelings
and emotions so that children acknowledge
that it is a positive thing to express feelings
and emotions to trusted people. A positive
relationship is vital in order for children to
gain this feeling about you.
3. Provide a learning Scaffold learning tasks so children Explore how success, challenge and
environment that experience acknowledgment and reward for failure
develops success and achievement and effort. There needs to be strengthen identities (ACPPS033).
competence for more focus on not only succeeding in a task (ACARA, 2017).
students. but putting in the effort to overcome personal
learning barriers. This can be achieved
Year level: 3 & 4 through differentiating tasks for various
students, providing informational feedback,
allow children to self-assess and self-reflect
on tasks and how it made them feel.

Evidence and reasoning behind the strategies used

1. Studies completed in 2012 showed that one quarter of Australian children aged two to seventeen
are overweight or obese (Vukovic, 2017). This health issue is caused by increased screen time and
poor nutritional choices. There are many long term social, emotional and health effects that obesity
has on young children for example, social isolation, relationship development and energy (Murray,
2017). These are all sections of Maslows pyramid, indicating that being overweight or obese can
prohibit children from developing self-actualization (Maslow, 1987). A school initiative that can be
implemented, is teaching activity and fundamental moving skills in HPE and other learning areas as
well as making use of the outdoor environment and play spaces (Vukovic, 2017). This can teach
children how to appreciate the outdoors, which is a skill they can reinforce in their home and
community environments (Vukovic, 2017). Moreover, exercise and outdoor activity will assist obese
children to feel happiness, even if weight is not lost (Murray, 2017). I also believe that this is a vital
part of student wellbeing as it is a coping strategy that I have found to work in my life. When children
are given the opportunity to be immersed in the outdoors and practice movement skills they will
release positive endorphins that assist people to develop a more positive wellbeing. If our students
are then able to reinforce these actions in their homes and communities, they will promote a more
sustainable future for both themselves and their families.

2. Frightening statistics have shown that children as young as 4 are being effected by depression
(Murray, 2017). The most significant cause for depression in Australia is poor community and
environmental factors, including increased stress in both adults and children (Murray, 2017).
Therefore, the importance of family connections is increasingly vital. However, whilst this is the case,
many children are experiencing a decreased amount of family support (Murray, 2017). As a result,
children are not learning to express their feelings to overcome emotional stress which leads to
depression (Murray, 2017). Teachers can help to foster the support systems needed for children
whose home life does not encourage expression of feelings, through providing these experiences at
school (Murray, 2017). The Australian Curriculum content descriptor, ACPPS020 encourages
teachers to use strategies that help children express feelings and recognise emotions (ACARA,2017).
When children develop these skills within a school environment there is increased chance of them
relaying the skill in their home environment. If this skill is transferred it can assist the family in
developing a stronger communication base and therefore a more sustainable future.

3. Educational research shows that the way in which teachers design their learning sequences,
learning environment and how they interact with students has a significant impact on student
engagement and knowledge acquisition This is known as the learning climate which can thoroughly
affect student wellbeing and learning (Australian Government Office for learning and teaching [OLT],
2016). Student mental wellbeing is supported when teachers create a nurturing and supportive
learning climate (OLT, 2016). This positive environment can be support by the curriculum and
differentiated teaching strategies. For example; providing children with differentiated tasks, allows
individual students to experience a sense of success, which furthermore effects their self-esteem
(OLT, 2016). In reference to my self-reflection, I was in a classroom climate that I feel did not provide
me chances to exceed in many areas, thus the effects to my self-esteem and wellbeing were
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2017). Curriculum. Retrieved

from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/health-and-physical-education

Australian Government Office for learning and teaching [OLT]. (2016). How teachers can support

student wellbeing. Retrieved from http://unistudentwellbeing.edu.au/teaching-


K., Murray (2017). Introduction to health and sustainability. Retrieved from CQUniversity e-courses,

EDEC11030 Retrieved from https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/book/view.php?id=521460

K., Murray (2017). Why is it important to examine social and emotional learning & identify strategies?

Retrieved from CQUniversity e-courses, EDEC11030 Retrieved from


K., Murray (2017). Why is it important to examine social and emotional learning & identify strategies?

Retrieved from CQUniversity e-courses, EDEC11030 Retrieved from


K., Murray (2017). Why is it important to examine social and emotional learning & identify strategies?

Retrieved from CQUniversity e-courses, EDEC11030 Retrieved from


K., Murray (2017). Why is it important to examine social and emotional learning & identify strategies?

Retrieved from CQUniversity e-courses, EDEC11030 Retrieved from


Maslow., A. (1987). Motivation and Personality. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Harper & Row.

R., Vukovic. (2017). Childhood obesity- what schools can do? Retrieved from