One of the most important aspects of the sports program at any school is to help kids to love sports. If kids learn to dread sports class in school, it may turn them off to physical activity in their lives and this can have detrimental consequences for their health and wellbeing.
How can a sports teacher make sure to help her students to love sports? Certainly, getting them away from the school furniture and on to the soccer field is a beginning, but then you have to help students to want to stay there. Here are some ways.
Keep the competition down: While some students love to be competitive, others will find this competitive nature intimidating. It’s important to help children to enjoy physical activities without feeling like they are always competing.
Vary the activities: Some children are far more coordinated than others. If you always do activities that require balance or stamina, some children will feel frustrated and left behind. Try to keep activities to brief lengths of time (20 minutes perhaps) and if you do an activity that requires a lot of coordination, make sure the next activity doesn’t require this skill.
Don’t let students pick their teams: Everyone knows the story about the child who gets picked last for the school team. Do not let your students select their teammates based on friendships or ability. It is best for the coach to be the one who selects the teams and for the teams to be kept as balanced as possible.
These are a few suggestions that will help you to get your students to love physical activity and to enjoy this aspect of their day both in and out of the school yard.
According to Bill Frist, MD, greater physical activity in schools leads to better concentration in the classrooms. Read more here:
Some children may groan about having to go to physical education class, and their parents may wonder if there is really a benefit to these activities. Indeed, there is. It is incredibly important for children to get exercise during the day for many reasons. Here, we address a few of these reasons and the benefits found from this exercise routine.
1. Physical activity: On simply a physical level, sports and exercise routines during the school day are incredibly important. Children need to get out of their school chairs and burn calories. Physical activity allows them to stay in shape, to learn about various exercise options that they might consider participating in after school as well, and to renew their focus for the classroom.
2. Psychological well-being: Along with the physical benefits of sport, there are many other benefits for the mind. The school day is quite long and students need to have a break sometimes. This break allows them to refocus their attention, burn off some energy and enjoy some physical exertion.
3. Team work: Assuming that the school teaches students about various sports, kids are learning teamwork and cooperation. Almost every sport teaches these skills, forcing students to pass the ball, to look out for each other and to balance their needs with the group’s need.
4. Following directions: One final benefit of team sports and sports in schools is that students learn how to follow directions. Certainly, they learn this skill in the classroom as well. Learning it on the field is one more way in which students learn to stay focused and to follow directions and these skills are very important.
Sports in school are extremely beneficial for many reasons. In elementary school, many children struggle with the long hours, getting cramped and restless while sitting at folding tables or desks. During recess the children get to stretch and refresh outdoors, but once they return to their stacking chairs and tables, they can quickly become lethargic and distracted.
Adding sports to the school curriculum is an excellent solution. The physical activity will help the children burn pent-up energy in an organized manner, and more than they would during free play in the playground. Sports also teach children discipline, confidence and social skills, helping them create teams and establish strong bonds both inside and outside the gym. The change of scenery also helps children re-focus their attention on school work later in the day thanks to a new flow of energy and hormones that boost concentration and confidence.
The scheduled gym classes and sports are not inconvenient for the children or their parents. In fact, parents are able to enjoy the fact that their child is getting sufficient exercise during their daily routine without having to worry about carpools and equipment for physical activities after school hours. The children are able to store a pair of sneakers and gym pants in their school lockers for easy access, and stay healthy and energized every day.
It makes sense to us of course. Now a study has found that exercise may help kids do better in school.
There are many different ways to help our kids learn about health and to encourage them to work on it for themselves. It starts at home but what goes on at school plays a large part as well. Before choosing which school to send your child to, check out things like: what food is served, what exercise they get, what the outdoors is like and what kind of sporting equipment they have.
Of course, if you child is particularly gifted in an area, you should make sure to research what the school has to encourage that as well. For example, if you have a child who is gifted in science, what are the laboratories like? One who wants to perform or who enjoys public speaking, check out the podiums and drama department. One who enjoys to cook, make sure there is a focus on that for both sexes, etc.
Still, it should be a priority for ALL parents – irrespective of the interests of their child – how much of a focus the school has on health, sports, nutrition etc. Is the school well-equipped? Do they train kids well in the sports area (or make it traumatic for them so that they will resent it for years to come)? Are the sports teachers good with kids who are not so confident? What is their track record like?
At the end of the day, as a parent one has to work out their own priorities. However, one should know that instilling the idea of healthy habits – vis-à-vis nutrition and sports/exercise – from an early age, is a real gift a parent can give to their child.
Some kids excel academically and some kids have a really hard time in the classroom. Likewise, with sports. But for those who have a hard time learning math and English, if they are active and enjoy it, playing different sports competitively at school can not only be a real equalizer (vis-à-vis their classroom performance) but also a real confidence booster.
Indeed, at the Washington School Districts sports is used “as a bridge to a better life for Washington State youth. Our goal is to ensure that students impacted by financial hardship and life trauma have the chance to participate in after-school activities that will keep them healthy, active and engaged in school.”
Unfortunately when there are budget cuts, sports are often the first to go. Instead of maybe not giving each kid a computer table and putting that money into sports opportunities for kids, those who want to engage in physical activity are now actually being charged “Pay to Play” fees of anywhere between $50 and $250. This is taking the equalizer out of the equation and putting those kids who are academically-challenged but thrive on the sports field, out of the loop.
So perhaps instead of schools putting their money into additional computer-based equipment, they should be focusing on the outdoors and giving everyone the same opportunity to thrive in sports.