On Thursday Mrs Yardley-Barnes, Mrs Hornby and Mrs Gibson accompanied 11 children to the inaugural Inclusive Sports Festival at Chenderit school.
The aim of the session was to encourage children who might not consider sports to be their greatest strength or who might rarely take part in organized sporting events to have a go at some new games which are accessible to people of all ages and all abilities.
Voted the favourite game by the children was seated volleyball. Rules are the same as normal volleyball with the exception that one bottom cheek must make contact with the ground during play. That means no jumping up and running across the court and makes it a more even playing field for people who are not as fast on their feet as their opponents. New Age Kurling involved pushing a disk which runs on ball bearings towards a target drawn out on the ground. As with bowls, players can knock an opponent’s disk away or help push a team mate’s closer. The third game was Boccia which is a Paralympic sport. “Boccia is a sport designed for athletes with severe impairments and has no Olympic equivalent. It is a target ball sport similar in principle to bowls but is played indoors with soft leather balls. It is a sport of intriguing tactics, incredible skill and nail biting tension.” (www.gb-boccia.org/) The final activity was a blindfolded obstacle course where participants were paired up with a sighted partner to lead them around. This built trust and involved listening carefully to the leader and also the leader remembering not to wander off and leave their blindfolded partner stranded!
This was a trial run for what Chenderit hope will be an inter-schools festival in future. It was an honour to be there and to see huge, beaming smiles on the faces of every one of the children, and the staff too. Many individuals were able to flourish in the games in ways we do not always see in PE sessions and it was especially gratifying to see how they encouraged, supported and looked after one another without any prompting from the staff. Their confidence levels soared and it was a real pleasure to see the children so relaxed around sports and having so much fun.
Huge thanks go the Chenderit Sports Leaders who gave up a large part of their evening to set up and run the games for our children and to join their teams. You are greatly appreciated and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
Apologies for the poor quality of the photos below, the camera did not like the lighting in the hall.