How To Know That a School Gives Importance For Sports?
A school is a centre for learning. When parents look at private schools to enrol their kids, they look at various factors, including academics, infrastructure, co-curricular activities and sports. While it is easy to observe the infrastructure during a visit to the school, parents have to depend on word-of-mouth feedback to understand how much importance the school gives to academics and sports.
Children experience many advantages when their schools focus on sports and academics. Sports help students understand that winning and losing are a part of life. Participating in sporting events also helps students stay fit and take care of their physical development.
Camaraderie, team spirit, team building and cooperation are some traits that children who play sports exhibit more than those who are glued to their computer screens or books. In addition, your child could be a gifted sportsperson and benefit from this talent being recognised and nurtured early in life.
Playing a sport or practising multiple sports means that children stay active. This enhances both their physical and mental abilities. Physical aspects like stamina building are significant for children. In the same way, planning, strategy and trust-building make them ready for the real world.
So, how do you know if the school gives equal importance to sports and studies? Read on to create a checklist to keep prepared during your school visit or while your child is enrolled at school.
Stating the obvious here, the easiest way to identify a school's importance to sports is how it has maintained the school grounds and courts. Many schools boast turf grounds for football, synthetic courts for badminton and basketball, and such. All of these are on display when parents visit the schools.
However, the question remains whether these courts and grounds are in use or if they are reserved for special occasions like the school’s Sports Day. Having the right infrastructure is vital. Students cannot practise volleyball on the basketball court and ‘adjust’ so that everyone can play multiple sports in the same place. Therefore, the first indication of whether a school accords enough importance to sports is the area allocated for the same.
In addition, we must be aware of the equipment the school uses for the same. Most schools have a dedicated games locker or room to store basketballs, footballs and other sports equipment, so they do not wear off easily. Also, there are dedicated coaches to ensure that children have the right training.
These factors come under the checklist for the school’s sports infrastructure.
The sportsmanship spirit is essential for children. We can inculcate this and many other qualities through sports. Today, many parents and educators talk about the disadvantages of competition- how losing can destroy morale and result in unhealthy competition. We strongly believe that helping students prepare for competitions makes them aware that winning and losing are part of the game.
When preparing for a competition, be it an interschool football match or a district-level marathon, children learn self-discipline, ethics, responsibility, teamwork, and mutual trust and build their confidence.
During competitions, the adrenaline runs high in the competitors and the audience. However, during this time, children understand how important it is to remain confident even when faced with difficulty and how essential it is to boost the morale- of your team or yourself.
In the same way, when our students participate in competitions, they represent the school— a matter of pride and joy for us, and they also achieve goals they have set for themselves. The same students who participate in school sports go ahead and represent the nation if given the right motivation. Therefore, another indication that a school gives equal value to sports as academics is participation and representation in inter-school and other competitions.
The need of the hour, especially after the Covid lockdown, is personality development. Ask any teacher, and they would tell you about the difficulties they face in the classroom- children are less receptive to learning, they are easily distracted, they do not want to sit in the same place for an extended period, they are lethargic and are not interested in group activities, the list goes on.
We have resorted to ways to help our students become more social than they have been over the ‘Covid years,’ as we call them. We use storytelling, projects, surveys, other activities, and games to help them transition back to face-to-face learning.
During our journey as educators, we have understood that it is not only the classroom that can teach all the skills needed. The playground is an equally excellent teacher we have found. Since most of our children love to stay glued to the screen, they do not indulge in free play like the children of the 90s or even the 2000s.
This makes it even more essential that the school allocates time for them to play. They grow as individuals during free play or even training in a particular sport. Play boosts the power of reasoning, and strategy improves aim and creates a balance between study and play. Some of the qualities that we have seen children develop on the field are
So, if your child is ravenous when they come home because they have played at school and are tolerant towards others while cycling or during free play, it is a good sign. It shows that the school accords enough importance to the lessons children learn on the playground.
Sports Meets and other activities
The school Sports Day is usually a day of fun and frolic. It is also a day of extreme stress for many children. Getting the March Past right, winning the House Cup, bagging the medals for the various events, and showing off to their parents and everyone else make children want to put their best foot forward.
As parents, these Meets indicate that the school you have chosen for your ward is also inclined towards sports and not just academics. Usually, there is a run-up to Sports Day, where your child comes home tanned, exhausted and bursting with news about who won what.
Children talk about watching the matches between various teams, participating in various events, and how they got their scraped knees and multiple bandages. Through all this, they exude a sense of pride and happiness, clearly showing you that the school does not just rest on giving out badges, medals and certificates but teaches a few lessons while the children are on the field.
We have heard a few parents tell us that their children are too delicate to be in the sun for long periods and that their constitution does not allow them to participate in many events. Others tell us that teaching students to compete against each other at an early age leads to stress, ill health and bad behaviour such as cheating. As a school that believes in the vitality of sports, we understand that there could be pressure during sporting events, but the benefits outweigh the hurdles. Sports Days are also an excellent time for parents to participate in sports and reawaken their children.
Comfortable P.E. uniforms:
Another dead giveaway about a school’s outlook on sports is the uniform. If the sports or physical education uniform is designed only for aesthetic purposes, without keeping comfort in mind, you can be assured that the school is not inclined towards sports. Many schools today have uniforms that are more functional and comfortable than those of the previous generations.
The number-one reason behind this is to ensure that the students are comfortable while playing and can do so without worrying about how restrictive the uniform is. Even the footwear that is used for the same speaks for the school.
Remember that sports education in schools helps your children stay healthy and prevent them from falling ill often by maintaining their fitness levels. They learn to work together as a team and stay confident. They also learn perseverance and good posture.
Small gestures like recognition from their classmates, a nod or acknowledgement from their coach, words of praise from opponents and selection in an event can boost a child’s self-confidence. Playing a sport also helps children develop an open mindset and stay active.
These qualities may not be exclusive to the playground, but they are best taught there. A school that understands the value of holistic development always encourages sports along with academics.