Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Vying to Be a Good Sport

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Vying to Be a Good Sport

Article excerpt

My overriding memory of primary sports day is the ice cream stall - that, and the three-legged race that my best friend and I used to train for all year. We were undefeated champions for four years running, marking the peak of my sporting achievements to date.

Sports days as a teacher are fun but frenetic, involving lots of cheering, stomping around with clipboards and explaining to hopping seven-year-olds why the starting line is not an ideal place to request a trip to the toilet.

The sports day at the end of last term was different, though. It was my first as a parent which, it turns out, is far more relaxing. The primary is a large one and the field was teeming with excited small children and their doting spectators. It could have been chaos but, amazingly, it wasn't. In small groups, the children moved seamlessly from one activity to the next whenever the whistle blew.

There were quite a lot of activities that left me at leisure to observe the foundation stage children in their natural habitat. There was the ubercompetitive child: alert and raring to go, watching the headteacher's whistle-holding hand like a meerkat.

Then there was the more relaxed type. For these children, sports day was something that happened to other people. They seemed happy to be outside, picking daisies and practising the odd cartwheel. But every time a teacher gently suggested that they might take a break from waving at their parents to wriggle through a hoop or carry a beanbag a few metres, they simply looked baffled. …

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