Benefits of sport for children's education and health

Run Forrest Run!

With the sun finally getting its hat on and many schools limbering up for an imminent sports day, we take a look at the importance of sport in school and how it affects children’s learning and understanding of teamwork.

Classroom Capers’ founder Jo has many fond memories of running around Southways Primary School’s grassy field as a child, tied to another friend’s leg and holding on for dear life!. She still shudders at the sight of an egg and spoon in the same place at the same time, after some formative memories to last a lifetime! But for Jo, sports day wasn’t about winning (not much chance of that anyway!). It was the sense of being outdoors in the fresh air and being able to express herself in activities away from the classroom.

“The levels of anticipation and excitement for sports day went through the roof in my primary school years. It was very much a case of ‘work hard, play hard’ and we certainly did that when it came to sports day! All the children got involved and in addition to our personal goals, we worked hard as a class team.”

“Seeing our teachers become ‘athletes’ was also a highlight, as their more formal persona – and the authority associated with it – made way for plimsoles, jogging pants and some variable athletic prowess! On the day itself, the sense of pride, fun and togetherness was abundant – probably because we were outdoors and running, skipping and bean-bagging our way to the finish line and a big ‘well done’ from the teacher when we got there.”

Jo’s feelings are also reflected in a recent Sports England piece, which indicates from their research the positive impact sports have on children.

What benefits can come from sports?

Most parents wish to encourage children to play sports to help them feel valued. Every child can be successful at one sport or another. However, it takes time for parents to find the sport suitable for the child. Therefore, they should be patient in selecting the sports, since it is a process that will pay off in the long run.

No other thing in life affords children such opportunity to develop positive character traits and to soak up many quality values as sports does. Here are some benefits that may come from playing sports :

  • Sport is an important learning environment for children.
    Numerous studies have shown that children who play sports perform better at school. It is also within sport that peer status and peer acceptance is established and developed.
  • Sports experiences help building positive self- esteem in children.
  • Children’s character and moral principles are formed through fair play.
    Moreover, children who are actively engaged in sports can be good role models for their peers from school, neighborhood, or even school choir, and inspire them to start playing some sports as well.
  • Playing sports enables them to create friendships they otherwise might not have formed. For example, the friendships professional athletes create on the field remain intact even when they are not playing sports, and often last a lifetime.
  • Sports bring people together from all over the world, regardless of their nationality, religion, culture, or skin color.
  • Teamwork and benefits of social interaction among children are best seen in sports.
    Kids learn they are part of a team that requires the same effort from all members to succeed, as well as how to win with class, and lose with dignity.
  • They view competitions on and off the field as opportunities to learn from their success and failure.
    In addition, losing often motivates kids to work even harder for next time.
  • They learn to respect authority, rules, team colleagues and opponents.
  • Participating in sports can be a helpful way of reducing stress and increasing feelings of physical and mental well-being
    as well as fighting against juvenile delinquency, conflict and aggressive outbursts. The point is to keep the body in good health in order to be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

When children learn positive life lessons through sports, there is no doubt they will become honest, reliable adults who will try to help others in need at any moment.