Experts are often commending the benefits of sport for young people, especially as the UK has hit a distressing record for childhood obesity. However, it has also been acknowledged that far fewer women enjoy the physical, social and health gains of sport and physical exercise than men.
I have teamed up with a co-educational preparatory school for children aged 2-13 years, to share some insight into how the education system is tackling this national concern and explore why sport is so critical for young people, including girls.
Firstly, taking part in a sporting activity encourages children to be competitive in a safe and structured environment. It allows them to experience the thrill of winning, but also how to graciously lose. These are transferrable skills which will serve them well in other aspects of their life. For instance, when the time comes for them to start applying for jobs, they may be better equipped to deal with rejection if they are comfortable with losing from time to time.
Sport is also a very sociable activity. It allows young people to forge strong relationships with likeminded people, outside of their usual lessons. Children who play team sports are particularly proficient at interacting with their peers and motivate others in a positive way. Schools typically try to encourage their students to play sports for local teams outside of their establishment, to broaden their horizons, but this is usually supported with regular PE lessons during school hours.
Possibly most importantly, sport is fun. It allows young people to run around and socialise in a structure way, where they simultaneously develop skills and boost their general fitness. At schools, particularly independent schools, they have access to fantastic facilities where they can explore a range of different sporting activities. For more information on how your child’s school is encouraging engagement with sports, for both boys and girls, don’t hesitate to contact their teachers.