Edusport is a winner, organisers say

Edusport is a winner, organisers say

Thursday, February 23, 2012

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — A recreational programme designed to assist the education of children in primary schools is also likely to provide sporting stars for St Elizabeth and Jamaica, organisers say.

Edusport, designed by the community group, Treasure Beach Foundation (BREDS), is a three-month old physical education programme run by local coaches which currently targets about 1200 children at schools in southern St Elizabeth.

Placing strong emphasis on creativity, independent learning, thinking skills and problem solving, coaches borrow from the movements in major ball sports such as football, cricket and hockey to create "fun" recreational activities for young children at their schools.

According to BREDS, EduSport coaches deliver two 45 minute coaching activities in participating schools during curriculum time each week.

Organisers say the EduSport programme assists schools in meeting international standards for physical activity among children. Under those guidelines every child should take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

They point to a World Health Organisation (WHO) requirement that "all children and youth should be physically active daily as part of play, games, sports, transportation, recreation, physical education, or planned exercise, in the context of family, school, and community activities".

Organisers say the feedback from schools has been "excellent" with teachers reporting Edusport's value not just in terms of recreation for children but in boosting "confidence".

BREDS says the programme has also provided the basis for an academy programme to benefit the more talented children spotted by coaches.

According to a release issued to Observer West, coaches will invite the more talented to "join the academy, at The Treasure Beach Sports Park, with which EduSport is affiliated. This allows the children to improve their specific skills in Football, Cricket, Tennis, Basketball and Netball. EduSport will provide a camp, at The Treasure Beach Sports Park for all those involved with the academy. The camp will last five weeks and focus on U13, U15 and U17 football. The camp will allow the EduSport coaches to have an intense few weeks of development with the children, teaching them the ins and outs of football from classroom to the field, through physical, nutritional and psychological training.

"The academy structure will allow the EduSport coaches to develop the talent on offer and improve the level of sports performance in this part of Jamaica".

The academy and 'football for all' is currently running on Saturday mornings. Organisers say there is "a close relationship with the Jonathon Hibbert Foundation that looks for talented footballers in St Elizabeth and links them with scholarship opportunities for Universities in America".

The schools currently involved in the edusport programme are Sandy Bank Primary, Newcombe Valley Primary, Pedro Plains Primary, Geneva Primary Epping Forest Primary, Mayfield Primary and Munro Prep.

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