A lifelong love of exercise can be inspired by the right approach to teaching sport at
the earliest stage.
Ashford Prep School – Harrison Straw – Head of Pre-Prep PE
I believe it is very important for children to take part in physical activities right from the start in Reception because it teaches them about healthy lifestyle and exercise. It also embeds a culture of teamwork, the feeling of working to achieve something and the joy of succeeding, as well as motivation and courage to step outside comfort zones.
Exercise allows children to escape the pressures of the classroom and stimulates the mind ready for learning when going back. We find they are able to return to their lessons with a fresh mind and settle down more easily after having a break from working their minds.
From Reception to Year 2 children take part in two hours of PE a week and their activities change every few weeks, so they get to do gymnastics, tennis, swimming, multi skills, football, hockey, netball, cricket and rugby.
We start off with multi skills, during which they learn the key basics of each sport. This prepares them for competitive sports which they first experience in Year 3.
Dance is also taught to all children at this stage, which allows the children to be more creative than some of the other sporting activities. All year groups also spend an additional hour swimming once a week.
From Year 3 it goes up to four and a half hours a week, including games sessions with matches. PE sessions include learning and playing different sports, including cricket, hockey, netball and football, plus gymnastics, dance, athletics and water polo.
Occasionally there are children who are unmotivated to participate and as they get older it is common for them to dislike a sport if they feel they are not good at it. So we make sure each lesson is different, with a range of activities so all children can join in, finding new ways in which children learn and will get the most out of each session. It is essential that all PE lessons are fun and engaging for every child.
Ashford School, Ashford, Kent
01233 625171 ashfordschool.co.uk
Beechwood Sacred Heart School
At Beechwood we believe that sport and exercise have many benefits other than just keeping fit. Sport increases confidence, improves personal growth, helps with attention levels, reduces anxiety and stress and improves behaviour and sleep levels. We feel sport should be accessible at all levels for all pupils and strive to continue to provide plenty of opportunities throughout the school year.
We support a wide and varied sporting curriculum from the Early Years to the Senior School. We are committed to helping all our pupils maintain a fit and active lifestyle and introducing fun and exciting activities in the Early Years helps build their interest in sport and supports a healthy attitude to exercise.
From the Nursery upwards, children can participate in dance lessons, music and movement and ball games. As they move into Reception, we add ball skills and more structured sports lessons, with both boys and girls enjoying athletics, football, cricket, tag rugby and many more.
Head of Sport, Mr Joshua Rowe, is keen to stress the importance of the children exploring opportunities and allowing a sense of creativity and having a go, rather than assuming one size fits all.
In addition to our sports hall and tennis courts, we are fortunate to have recently opened our brand new, fully floodlit all-weather pitch and can offer even more sports provision than ever before.
Beechwood Sacred Heart School, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
01892 532747 beechwood.org.uk
Spring Grove School – Ben Smith, Director of Boys’ Games; Dee Langford, Head of Girls’ Games and Bill Jones, Headmaster
Sport and outdoor activities are a priority for all children at Spring Grove. We believe strongly that encouraging children to spend time outdoors every day helps to set healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Our sports programme is designed to allow boys and girls to learn and develop new skills, to participate, and most of all to enjoy sport, now and for years to come.
The ‘little ones’ at Spring Grove start their sport lessons in Nursery, with PE sessions led by the sports staff, and from Reception upwards we introduce weekly swimming lessons in our heated, covered pool.
Sport for all is embedded in our ethos. We offer rugby, football, hockey, tennis, cricket, athletics and cross country, as well as encouraging health-related fitness in PE sessions. We make the best use of our beautiful location in Wye – not only does the school stand in 14 acres of grounds, it is surrounded by stunning countryside that lends itself to cross-country practise! Spring Grove is also well placed for matches against a wide range of local schools, and there are full fixture lists in all three terms.
At Spring Grove we see the benefits of sport in helping children to develop self-esteem and self-confidence, to learn teamwork and how to communicate, and to foster resilience, discipline and respect. And while winning is great, it’s also important to lose – because it’s by making mistakes and dealing with failure that the greatest lessons are learned, in sport and in life.
Spring Grove School, Wye, Ashford, Kent
01233 812337 springgroveschool.co.uk
Sport at Spring Grove
Running at Beechwood
Fun and games at Ashford
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