Sport at St John’s Preparatory School is an outlet for children. It is one of those things that for some children can make school tolerable, but for most, it makes school fun: not just the organised sports, but the games of touch, branders, one bounce and open gates. Sport is a way to blow off steam, to bond with classmates, to interact with children of other ages, and to get to know the teachers on a more informal basis. Playing sport, the phonies are exposed, the shy boys come into their own, the bullies are put in their place and the truly exceptional personalities emerge. Sport can teach character, but what it really does best is reveal it.
At St John's all children are encouraged to play sport. We want to develop children physically and make them passionate about sport. The only way to do this is to expose them to a variety of sports and make it fun. We are not trying to make ‘champions’: that will take care of itself. However, we do want to create such a passion for sport that in 30 or so years’ time, all our children will still be benefiting from participating in some kind of physical exercise.
At St John’s Preparatory School we aim to:
- Encourage team sport, as team sport brings enjoyment and fulfillment as children are playing with friends.
- Encourage participation rather than winning – children are naturally competitive, especially boys.
- Develop a passion for sport – the only way to do this is to play.
- Play as many different sports / activities as possible. Children should be given a ‘taste’ of all sports and then specialize later on. Children should not be channelled into one sport.
- Look to develop ‘flair’ and expression. It is easy to work out methods to win, but unfortunately these methods are often at the expense of developing ‘flair’.
- Pressure (from parents and coaches) has a negative effect on development. Children become too focused on their own game and because they are performance orientated, they do not play with the freedom that they should display at this stage in games. Flair and creativity must be encouraged rather than results.
- Play is important, not performance. However, children, particularly boys are naturally competitive and so they must be taught to accept accountability.
- This must be well managed. The focus must be on the process, not the outcome.
- Teach the basics of each sport. Allow for flair and let children play the way they want to play.
- Improve on all types of fitness and understand each type’s relevance in all sports.
- Develop Personality, Social and Moral Skills.
- Focus on Physical, Cognitive and Emotional Skills.
- Emphasize hard work; good spirit; sportsmanship; discipline; good behaviour; general manners; enjoyment.