“Taking up a sport or any physical activity not only makes children fit but also develops many other socio-cultural traits required in life,” writes The Times of India’s Purnima Goswami Sharma.
It’s a well-known fact that our education says Item emphasizes more on academics and less on physical education and outdoor activities. In such a scenario, a school’s role becomes important in making children understand the importance of exercise and fitness as regular physical activity is like preventive medicine and it should be part of one’s lifestyle.
Today, childhood obesity is a problem; and addiction to gadgets has certainly contributed to obesity and a host of other health issues in kids. “Unfortunately, children grow up with a lot of emphasis on intellectual development and not enough on physical and overall development.
As a result, they end up paying in terms of health problems, weaknesses, and lack of performance in the sports arena. One needs to understand that a physically active lifestyle is not an option, it’s absolutely necessary for the overall development of a child,” says Jayanth Sharma, an accomplished wildlife photographer and co-founder and CEO of a company which conducts camps for children and adults. It’s been well-established that physical exercise releases positive hormones and keeps the mind healthy. Also, team games build social skills and strategic thinking. “Schools should emphasise on physical education and regular participation in sports activities.
Besides nurturing the habit of being active physically, play time is a wonderful way for an impressionable child to learn the deeper lessons of life that become so critical later in life issues like how to handle expectations, cope with failure, compete hard but fairly, to take any result in one’s stride, to cooperate and yet be competitive – these are things that cannot be taught in theory in a classroom,” adds Sharma. Echoing similar views, Pinky Dalal, well-known educationist, says, “The importance of outdoor play time and the substantive effect it has on a child during the early years cannot be over stated. Outdoor activities help in development of their gross and fine motor skills, allow them to explore and develop their imagination and build lasting relationships. Sports, physical education and athletics should be crucial part of the curriculum planning at a school level.”
Schools must have compulsory period where children could get a chance to play the game of their choice. They must have proper playgrounds and courts, required infrastructure and trained coaches as well. Encouraging these activities will enable learners to develop an interest and find their passion and they can continue to pursue that sport later in their lives too. There is an urgent need for schools to recognise and accept this and incorporate physical activity in the core curriculum and not as an after thought extra-curricular supplement.
An academic culture that promotes a holistic approach to growth and development is the key to bring in transformation.
Being active makes children concentrate better, be happy imbibe life skills in addition to increased blood circulation, muscle development and so on. “Playing sports is also a great way to make the children aware of themselves, their emotions and their reactions when faced with different situations. They evolve into agile thinkers, situational leaders and problem solvers,” adds Dalal. Ankita Sanyal, who appeared for her class 10 Board exams recently, says, “I have been very active in various school sport activities as we have good facilities. Even when preparing for exams, it helped me to de-stress and relax and also concentrate better. I went for cycling or played badminton daily or simply did skating on my building terrace for 45 minutes.”
Outdoor time, be it being on the sports ground or being amidst nature, helps children discover the many wonders of the world in a completely organic way.
Spending time outdoors they develop a close association with nature and become aware of the environment and are sensitive to different life forms around them. It also equips them with the ability to live in harmony with the world around them and become well-informed and responsible citizens.
This article has appeared on the 15 April 2018 edition of The Times of India.