The importance of sport to mind, body and soul

Families who know us well are aware that the wellbeing of the children within our care at Lancing Prep Worthing is of the highest priority to us. Our pastoral care, PSHEE programme and the work of The Hive Wellbeing team are all part of that approach, and sport and PE make a huge contribution to pupil wellbeing too. 

Understanding the importance of sport on mind, body and soul is part of my DNA as a PE teacher. I am always going to champion the importance of sport and PE within schools. Sporting activity is a powerful tool that brings an almost endless number of benefits. It helps children to feel good about themselves, both physically and mentally. It allows children to exercise, develop their physical skills, make new friends, have fun, learn to be part of a team, to learn about playing fairly, to bond and be part of a team, have fun and make new friends, improve self-esteem and to gain fitness.

Sport develops transferable skills in children that are directly relevant to their academic work in the classroom. It requires them to develop a good memory, to understand repetition, to set goals to be achieved and to learn consistently in a changing environment. It fosters a positive mindset, by encouraging the qualities of resilience in adversity and determination to carry on with tasks.

To delve down a bit deeper into this, a phrase very familiar to us here at Lancing Prep Worthing, here are the ideals I believe in for every child at the school. It’s more than developing hand eye coordination or running fast!

HEALTH BENEFITS:

Physical Health and Wellbeing
Daily, physical activity will help children stay healthy and strong, whilst improving coordination and help them relax. These physical benefits often have an impact on emotional well-being, which can help improve a child’s overall school performance.

Learning about the physical health benefits of sports
PE and games can help children reach fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight. However, more is taught in a cross-curricular way with human biology. By understanding how our bodies work and what nutrition we need, it also encourages healthy decision-making, such as choosing to eat fruit and vegetables regularly and to avoiding a regular diet of junk food.

Stress Busting
Taking part in sport helps to reduce pressure and stress levels. Physical exercise is a natural way to let go of stress. It also helps children to build new friendships and support groups with other pupils. At LPW, we are heartened that our pupils are so supportive of each other and are frequently seen to ‘be there’ for their peers.

SOCIAL SKILLS

Social Interaction
Playing sports is a great way for children to interact with one another. Participating in school sports means children then become part of a team, which in turn will help them bond as a group. This can make children become more sociable and outgoing, whilst helping to boost their performance.

Self Confidence
Playing sports with classmates can motivate and help children grow in self-confidence, as they engage in friendly competition and form new friendship groups by working with other children within the school.

Self-Esteem
The hard work in lessons and in games work allows children to achieve goals which also boosts their sense of self-esteem. Knowing that they are able to achieve a sport or fitness goal empowers children to believe they can achieve other goals set in the school. Recreating that sense of pride and wellbeing felt in achieving one goal to use as a mindset to tackle tasks or new goals that lie ahead is a powerful aid to learning that is both rewarding and exciting.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Leadership Skills
Taking part in sports activities can often involve being a team leader of a small or large group. This not only helps children build confidence, but it’s also great practice for in the future. At LPW, we regularly rotate team captains so that children have opportunities to try their hands at leading their peers.

Teamwork and problem-solving skills
Playing towards a common goal with a group of players teaches children how to work together in cooperation and build teamwork skills. They learn how as a group they can communicate more effectively to solve problems together. This is a valuable experience which they add to their toolkit of skills to use when encountering problems at work or in class.

I consider myself so fortunate to work at a school like Lancing Prep Worthing, where the opportunities for sport are abundant, beyond the restrictions of the National Curriculum and the constraints that are inevitably imposed on state schools.

We are so lucky to have an extensive outdoor space for sport (which often surprises new visitors to the school who don’t know it’s there!) and to use the fantastic facilities at Lancing College. This necessarily has reduced during the pandemic but with the roadmap now hopefully well underway, swimming has restarted this term and we look forward to returning to the College for training and fixtures just as soon as we can.

I believe that sport has the potential to offer so much and to enhance a child’s school experiences. I’m certainly looking forward to continuing to give sporting opportunities to all our pupils during their time at LPW and to help them prepare for the next stage in their education journey.