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Chinese schools boost fitness through diverse sporting activities

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-11 17:17
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BEIJING -- As the morning school bell signals the end of class, students quickly shift into skaters, donning skating shoes and putting on protective gear to revel in the joy of skating on the ice-covered grounds at a school in Northeast China.

For years, students of the Mudanjiang Korean ethnic minority primary school in the city of Mudanjiang, located in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, have honored this tradition. The school, committed to fostering physical well-being and resilience in children through winter sports, has continued to maintain an ice rink for 40 years.

"Our goal is to enhance children's physical fitness and cultivate their resilience through participation in ice and snow sports," said Xuan Songyan, principal of the school.

The school's skating rink, covering around one-third of the playground, can host dozens of children simultaneously, with experienced skaters navigating the outer ring with speed, while beginners play in the central area. Physical education (PE) teachers would supervise and instruct children on essential actions and safety measures.

Beyond PE classes, the school extends the pleasure of ice and snow sports by opening the ice rink after school hours and on weekends. Teachers are also arranged to provide guidance, ensuring the safety of the children as they fully immerse themselves in the fun of these activities.

"The children are actively involved in skating. Even those with no prior experience progress from 'unable to stand on ice' to slow skating within three to four classes," said Yin Jiyong, a PE teacher at the school, adding that now, almost all students in the school have participated in skating classes.

In Beijing, recess has become the "golden time" for students to actively participate in sports activities. Students at the Taipingqiao campus of the Beijing No.12 high schools league would come to the playground and pick the sports equipment such as skipping rope, hoop and sandbags, which have been arranged by the school according to their preferences.

"The school places significant emphasis on the campus activities of the students, setting a 30-minute break each morning and afternoon," said Song Zhenzhong, Party secretary of the school.

Song added that in addition to traditional activities like running and sandbag throwing, the school constantly introduces innovative after-class activities like live-action Snake Game.

Smart sports, driven by science and technology, have taken center stage in south China's Guangdong Province. The Shenzhen Xinsha Primary School has adopted an AI sports system, featuring an interactive exercise screen where children follow instructions to complete various tests such as squats, jumping jacks and sit-ups.

"The top 10 children have a monthly opportunity to compete with the principal," said Wang Yaqiong, a teacher at the school. "These innovative initiatives effectively motivate students to engage in physical activities."

According to Chu Zhaohui, a researcher at China National Academy of Education Sciences, many schools in China have increased physical activity duration, yielding positive results.

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