Primary school children build skills and gain exposure to minor sports through a new sports programme.

Two rural schools in Otago requested assistance from our Institute of Sport Exercise and Health to implement a sports programme that would cater to the whole school, from new entrants to 13-year-olds. Rural schools face particular challenges, and external providers can bring new education perspectives to the development of children's physical activity and wellbeing.

Student Claire McAslan designed, implemented and evaluated a Fundamental Movement Skills and minor sports programme. At each school she ran a 30 minute session with students aged 5 and 6, then a one hour session with students aged 7 to 13. The first half of each session was drills based on the chosen skill. The second half consisted of a short introduction to a minor sport that used that skill, then the students had the opportunity to participate in the minor sport. This programme ran weekly for two school terms (20 weeks).

Feedback from surveys showed that the programme was enjoyable for the participating students. Adding more drills would help keep the students engaged. It would also have been useful for Claire to have more guidance on working with groups of children. Further research is needed to evaluate the benefits of such programmes for child development. 

February 2022