Health and PE Resources for Primary Schools

Essential Resources' health and physical education (PE) books empower teachers to guide students towards wellbeing. In this way, our primary school resources challenge the assumption that health and PE are just about sports. 

Instead, we see health and PE as a way to nurture wellbeing, promote safety and foster healthy lifestyles. The practical tasks in our health and PE resources are designed with this in mind. 

Health and Physical Education for All has become an invaluable guide for promoting good health beyond the classroom. Emotional Literacy builds empathy and social skills while Everyone’s a Leader gives children opportunities to shine as a leader. Explore these titles and more today.  


What are the four strands of health and physical education? 

The four strands of the health and physical education (PE) curriculum are: 

  • Personal health and physical development – students develop attitudes, knowledge and skills to promote wellbeing and physical development. 
  • Movement concepts and motor skills – students build their motor skills and understanding of movement, and positive attitudes towards physical activity 
  • Relationships with other people – students acquire attitudes and understandings that enrich their relationships with others.  
  • Healthy communities and environments – students take responsible and critical action to contribute to healthy communities and environments.  

Health and PE learning experiences should be derived by integrating the four strands, underlying concepts, achievement objectives and seven key areas of learning.  

What are examples of primary school health teaching resources? 

Examples of primary school health teaching resources from Essential Resources are:

Emotional Literacy by Jane Adams 

Author Jane Adams provides 45 health lesson plans for developing emotional competence in children. These include ideas for discussions, worksheets for each lesson and games. 

The topics covered are talking about feelings, developing empathy, managing feelings and behaviours and developing social skills. 

Making Safe and Healthy Choices by Judith Drysdale 

This series of health books for schools is designed to support the requirements of the New Zealand Curriculum.  

Central to these books is engaging students in higher-level thinking skills. The activities offer a set of choices and invite students to make a critical decision. The approach encourages them to justify their decisions and actions related to playing, eating, and caring for themselves and others.  

Thinking About Me and Us by Sue Costelloe 

With links to both the health and English curriculum, these books prompt students to explore issues like personal identity, goals and relating to others. Inquiry learning is the main focus, encouraging students to think creatively, critically, and reflectively. 

How to build resilience in children? 

Building resilience in children begins with forming relationships and making connections. As it says in Building Resilience in Schools, “It is more about people-to-people interactions than about programmes.” 

Authors Jim Peters and Ian Thurlow point to three critical factors for developing resilience: caring relationships, high-expectation messages and opportunities for meaningful participation and contribution. 

Within the classroom setting, this could be the teacher setting and communicating realistic and high expectations of their students. 

Additionally, children learn resilience each time they overcome a problem.  

Avoid predicting, preventing and trying to fix all problems. Overcoming small challenges helps to build children’s confidence in their ability to handle bigger setbacks. Instead, identify and talk about how the problem/disappointment made them feel.  

A key component of resiliency is understanding you can not always have what you want as soon as you want it. This can be a challenging concept to install in the age of Amazon Prime. Without the ability to delay gratification, our children are losing an important skill. 

Board games are great activities to teach resilience. These require impulse control, turn-taking, mental flexibility, emotional regulation and resilience. For teachers, it is also a way to model resilience by being a good loser.