Greenfield and Turners Falls football meet for 87th straight year on Thanksgiving http://t.co/Bd4Kn9c2oE
— MassLive HS Sports (@MassLiveHS) November 27, 2013
All educators agree today that students need to get out of their school chairs frequently to increase their ability to absorb more information when they are sitting at their school desks. It has been proven scientifically that physical activity is essential to the holistic development of youth. Not only is physical health fostered, but so is the social and emotional health of children who are engaged in rigorous activity.
So what is so special about sport in school? There is no question that children learn a lot while engaged in sports activities. Students improve their motor skills development, performance and educational potential. There is a strong correlation between physical activities and psychosocial development.
In addition, recent research has revealed that play is the most important way children learn when they are beginning their educational careers. Play is a basic foundation for development; it is the way they learn new skills. Physical education and sport only add to this concept of play as a vehicle for learning. Sports activities also help children develop a long list of values and social skills, including:
• Respect-for others and for themselves
• Understanding rules and adhering to them
When you create a sports program in the school, there are bound to be some students who are better athletes than others. This can cause some kids to feel bad about themselves and their ability level and to, perhaps, eventually give up on enjoying sports. There are easy ways, however, to help each child to feel better about himself and his own abilities on the field. And this can translate to all areas of his life, allowing him to enjoy sports in school, sports after sitting in church with the church furniture, sports in the afternoon, and more.
First, encourage children to break their own records and to push themselves as individuals. If you are having students run laps, for instance, and you want to encourage them to run faster each week, make sure that they are measuring themselves only against themselves. So, rather than having all kids run at the same time, and measuring how they did against each other, have them record their own times and only measure how they did on their own. Continually explain to the kids that they want to challenge themselves and continually improve themselves – regardless of what anyone else is doing.
Encouraging teamwork can have a large impact on self-confidence. Create games and sports activities during the day that require teamwork. It isn’t about which team won the basketball game; rather it’s about which team had the most passes during the game or which team encouraged each other the loudest. Obviously, sometimes you’ll want the students to play a basketball game with a score and with a winner and loser. But as the kids are learning, you can create opportunities for sportsmanship and teamwork and reward those who demonstrate these skills.
Sports is one vehicle for raising the self confidence level of children. Aside from the obvious health benefits that come from physical activity, there are many psychological benefits. But there can also be psychologically detrimental consequences to a school sports program that is not done correctly. Learning how to encourage children to measure personal successes and to participate in teamwork can have a lasting influence on them as they grow.