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Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PD/H/PE) contributes significantly to the cognitive, social, emotional, physical and spiritual development of students. It provides opportunities for students to learn about, and practise ways of, adopting and maintaining a healthy, productive and active life. It also involves students learning through movement experiences that are both challenging and enjoyable. PD/H/PE promotes the value of a lifelong commitment to physical activity and maintaining a healthy life.

There is ample evidence to indicate that, despite a high standard of living, significant social and health problems exist in Australia. Many of these problems can be associated with the lifestyles adopted by individuals, particularly with respect to drug use, accidents, diet, physical activity, sexual activity as well as a number of other high risk behaviours. Because of their association with certain behaviour patterns, many modern diseases are therefore largely preventable depending on the choices made by individuals.

In the last decade schools have been asked to assume more responsibility in the areas of student welfare, health promotion and lifestyle management. It is important to recognise, however, that schools cannot accept total responsibility for the development of high standards of public health and well being. The role of the school is, and must cointinue to be, complementary to the efforts made by families and community groups. Ideally, the school will help students to make informed decisions about their lifestyles which take into account the value of family, culture and religion to which they may belong.

The goal of this Key Learning Area is to help individuals seek that pattern of behaviour, which directs them toward their optimum level of lifestyle and to develop the whole person. Learning in PD/H/PE encourages young people to take a positive approach to managing their lives and equips them with skills for current and future challenges. The knowledge, understanding and skills developed provide a foundation of a wider range of study pathways beyond school and also have applications in a number of vocational areas.

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