Why do we need competitive sport?

The subjects we debate from day to day are many and varied but one that often rears its head in relation to young children is that of competition in schools and in particular of late, competitive sports.

Participating in sports activities in school is clearly a positive thing from a health point of view and most children are naturally competitive; it’s human nature to want to do well and hopefully win at whatever it is you are doing. The majority of children love running around and playing sports – and competing – but there are, of course, youngsters who just aren’t that way inclined and have no real interest in taking part in sports.

But life itself is competitive so like it or not children do need to learn about competing and how it feels to win and lose. Being involved in sport is one way of doing so, but for those who aren’t athletically minded maybe schools should offer some form of competition in other areas too. Activities like spelling bees, maths rallies, art events and ‘best dressed’ at the school disco all offer alternative forms of competition away from sports that still teach children about the competitive side of life and allow those who are less athletic to shine in other ways.

Competitive sport in particular, though, is a great way of encouraging kids to compete against themselves to be the best they can and work towards personal goals. As well as being good for your health, if it’s taught in the right way sport in school encourages youngsters to continue to be active all their lives. And just because a child isn’t good at one sport it doesn’t mean to say they won’t be good at another, so the chances are everyone can be included and can find a sporting activity they have a chance of being okay at and enjoy.

Competition is inherent in sports. If you have two teams going up against each other then the whole point of the exercise (pardon the pun!) is to try and win. Okay, it’s meant to be fun too, but both teams will want to win. But at least when children are involved as part of a team, if they are on the losing side, then any disappointment is shared which, certainly for the very young, has to be a good way of learning how to cope with such a situation and how to support one another.

Competitive sports also allow those children who may not do so well academically to achieve elsewhere. This is a key point as no matter how much some children try in class, it may be that for whatever reasons, they just aren’t good on that side of things. Doing well at a sport and being rewarded for it by doing well or actually winning shows them another side to themselves.

Today’s modern life can be tough and the world is a very competitive place. It can only make sense that children learn about success and failure from a young age as we all have to deal with both at some point. Competitive sports and other activities in school is one way of doing so.

Home education – an alternative to the norm

There are no official figures available to show how many children are currently being home educated in the UK but it is estimated that the number is approximately 80,000 and growing – rapidly each year.

Education for children between the ages of five and 16 is compulsory in the UK, but sending them to school is not. As the figures prove, many parents are deciding to educate their children at home for a variety of reasons and they have a right to do so under UK law. Additionally, families who home educate do not have to follow the National Curriculum as schools do and there is no single correct way laid down as to how to educate your child at home.

In the hectic lifestyle we all seem to lead these days it’s hard to imagine taking on the role of ‘teacher’ for your children, but increasingly parents are seeing many benefits to choosing this route. There is often a particular reason or reasons behind the decision, with some parents deciding on home education some time before their child reaches school age and others taking the decision when they see that school education, or school generally, is not suiting their child. This might be down to all sorts of things, such as a child being bullied, being anxious about aspects of school, finding it hard to fit in, maybe having special needs or simply finding that school does not fit a child’s particular way of learning. Being unhappy or distressed at school can also impact on a child’s behaviour at home to the detriment of family life and impacting on other family members.

Many parents considering home education (HE) therefore feel they are in a better position to cater for their child’s individual needs. Naturally there will be a period of getting used to the fact that mum or dad is now the ‘teacher’ but that aside, along with getting over the fact that the kids are still at home, with a suitable work area and carefully planned and organised timetable, many parent are finding it’s a very successful way to educate their youngsters.

Our research shows, for example, that the ‘one to one’ scenario means they get through a lot of work, while in doing so it frees up time to incorporate other activities, such as attending HE groups to socialise and make friends or doing more outdoor and physical activity time.

Many HE children go on to higher education and we came across numerous examples of those who have been taught at home going on to university, so it can clearly be a very positive and successful way of educating children. The more you delve into it the more intriguing and interesting an option it becomes – as more and more parents are finding out!

‘Team 360 Play’ 50 mile cycle ride raises £3,000 (and counting!) for charities of the year

A team from local family entertainment centre operator 360 Play has raised over £3,000 so far for the company’s four 2016 charities of the year following a successful cycle ride on Sunday, March 20th, as part of the Sport Relief event.

Led by Managing Director Duncan Phillips the team was made up of several members of the head office staff at DP House in Milton Keynes, with the tough 50 mile route beginning and ending at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s iconic Lee Valley VeloPark, part of the site of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

IMG_2274On a windy and occasionally showery day, the circuit took riders up and down lots of hills around beautiful Essex countryside and along some busy main roads around central London, but everyone completed the task unscathed – apart from a few aches and pains which came on after the event! And the participants were ably supported by a support team, who ensured everyone was well hydrated and provided for with energy boosting food along the way.

Funds raised to date through individual sponsorships total over £1,500 and with 360 Play operating company DP Leisure match donating to the final figure, over £3,000 has been raised so far. The funds will be split between the four 360 Play centres’ charities of the year – Harry’s Rainbow in Milton Keynes, Polly Parrot Children’s Appeal in Basildon, Tracks autism in Stevenage and the Phoenix Children’s Foundation in Leicester – which will all gain valuable support from this event.

IMG_2262“We’ve supported local charities and the wider communities in all the areas in which we operate for many years and the idea to add to this with a cycle ride around this year’s Sports Relief appealed to several of us at head office,” said group sales and marketing manager Billie-Jan Humphries. “It was tough going at times but really worthwhile and the money raised by each member of the team, which is being matched by our operating company DP Leisure, will enable us to provide a real boost to this year’s 360 Play charities of the year.”

IMG_2276IMG_2278IMG_2281The 360 Play team’s efforts also reflect the company’s philosophy for young children. Providing fun activities designed to encourage physical, active, imaginative and creative play is key to the 360 Play concept, enhancing and supporting children’s development. Its centres are packed with a wide range of elements to ensure this is achieved among its young visitors who may one day themselves take part in a Sport Relief event.