Physical and health education

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In the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), physical and health education empowers students to understand and appreciate the value of being physically active and to develop the motivation for making healthy life choices. 

Physical and health education focuses on both learning about and learning through physical activity.

Both dimensions help students to develop approaches to learning (ATL) skills across the curriculum.

MYP physical and health education courses must engage students in physical education activities for at least half of the total teaching time allocated to the subject group.

What is the significance of MYP physical and health education?

Physical and health education courses foster the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will contribute to a student’s balanced and healthy lifestyle. Through opportunities for active learning, courses in this subject group embody and promote the holistic nature of well-being.

Through physical and health education, students can learn to appreciate and respect the ideas of others, and develop effective collaboration and communication skills.

This subject area also offers many opportunities to build positive interpersonal relationships that can help students to develop a sense of social responsibility.

How is MYP physical and health education structured?

In order to give students an opportunity to meet the MYP physical and health education objectives at the highest level, teachers should plan a balanced curriculum that includes significant content.

This content might include:

  • physical and health-related knowledge, such as components of fitness, training methods, training principles, nutrition, lifestyle, biomechanics, exercise physiology, issues in sport and first aid
  • aesthetic movement, such as gymnastics, aerobics, martial arts, jump rope, yoga or capoeira
  • team sports, such as football, basketball, handball, volleyball and hockey
  • individual sports, such as golf, athletics, swimming, squash or fencing
  • international sports and activities, including athletic traditions and forms of movement beyond students’ personal and cultural experiences.

Schools might also include:

  • alternative recreational sports, such as ultimate Frisbee®, in-line skating, skateboarding or parkour
  • adventure activities, such as orienteering, rock climbing, hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking or kayaking.

Find out more about the MYP curriculum and about becoming authorized to implement the MYP.

Learn more about physical and health education in an MYP workshop for teachers.

Physical and health education subject brief

Subject briefs are short documents providing an outline of the course. Click on the brief below to find out more information about this subject.


MYP physical and health education (PDF, 580 KB) pdf