Sports in schools: Not just child’s play

Setting up for a sports carnival is a lot of fun, but can involve a fair amount of work! Luckily during our recent sports carnival in Bavel parents and members of the community were on hand to support the smooth running of the morning’s activities.

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Our sports carnivals are part of our Sports Program, designed to increase sport in school and provide fun learning environments for students.  Through structured weekly sports lessons, children are shown that school can be active, fun and involve laughter.  We provide opportunities to learn new skills, and build positive associations with learning which supports our aim to increase attendance.  Students are far more likely to attend school when they feel connected, and sport is shown to be one way to achieve this.

The sports carnival goes one step further than the weekly sports lessons, involving a whole morning of sport and competition.  Divided into teams the students compete in hurdles, sprinting and sack races.

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By taking part in sport, children learn to develop self-confidence, motivate themselves and lead active lifestyles.

Using sport as part of an approach to encourage attendance in school is widely used around the world, in both developed and developing countries.  Sports-based programs in school have shown to improve learning performance of children, encouraging school attendance and a desire to succeed academically (UNICEF).

What makes the SeeBeyondBorders’ Sport Program unique is the emphasis on the community’s role. We support teachers by training them to deliver structured sports lessons, and engage community members as Assistant Coaches. We also encourage community members and parents to attend sports lessons and sports carnivals.

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In 2015 we trained 70 teachers and 146 assistant coaches to deliver effective sports lessons. In addition, 110 community members were involved in our sports program, either through the sports carnival or regular sports lessons. So far in 2016, 65 teachers and 135 assistant coaches have been involved in and engaged with the program.

Sport is seen as a powerful tool in promoting development and bringing people and communities together. We see the community involvement in our sports program as vital to its longevity and ultimately wish to see the program running without the support of SeeBeyondBorders’ staff in the future.

“Sport programs seek to empower participants and communities by engaging them in the design and delivery of activities, building local capacity, adhering to generally accepted principles of transparency and accountability, and pursuing sustainability through collaboration, partnerships and coordinated action.” (United Nations, Sport for Development and Peace).

Our recent sports carnival in Bavel provided an opportunity to speak to one of the Assistant Coaches involved in the sports program. Toi Tum has four children and two grandchildren.

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“I enjoy being involved in the sports activities, and helping to support the school. I like that SeeBeyondBorders helps to spread information, and ensures we can come and see our children learn and helps us to solve the challenges we face together.  We have a responsibility to help the school and it will be strengthened by our involvement. The school doesn’t belong to just one person, it belongs to everyone.”

“I have been an assistant coach for 18 months now and enjoy helping the teacher with the sports lessons. Bringing enjoyable activities to school is really important. I think it is good to make school fun, so that children will attend.”

To see more from the recent sports carnival in Bavel check out our latest short video below.

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Author: SeeBeyondBorders

SeeBeyondBorders provides children in Cambodia with access to quality teaching and learning at school. Our approach is through sustainable development, helping communities help themselves.

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