16th October 2023
Primary school children flying through the air doing a martial art kick against two boards with their peers lined up behind them waiting their turn in a sports hall
Inactive children try six fun activities at recent School Games event
Inactive pupils from six schools across Mid Sussex came together for a School Games event.
The morning event at The Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath on Tuesday, October 10, was created to encourage inactive children from years five and six to try different activities.
They included pickleball, dance with Popsteps, gymnastics, cricket with Haywards Heath Cricket Club, squash, martial arts with White Tiger Martial Arts, and tennis with TMU Sports.
Caroline Stafford from Mid Sussex Active said: “We wanted them to realise being active is fun. It does not matter if you are good at it, it is just having fun with your friends.
“We hope that children will go away with confidence.”
All the activities are available at the leisure centre or in the local area; the hope is that if a child enjoys a sport, they may sign up.
Jessica, 9, said: “I loved martial arts. It was really fun, and I like kicking things.”
Zara, 9, agreed with her friend and added: “I had a lot of stress and anger, and I let it out.”
Libby, 10, said of the day: “It is really, really fun. I loved taekwondo, but the gymnastics was also really fun.”
Schools involved included Northlands Wood Primary Academy in Haywards Heath; Holy Trinity CofE Primary School in Cuckfield; Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill; St Peter’s CE Primary School in Ardingly, St Augustine’s CofE Primary School in Scaynes Hill; and Handcross Primary School, in Handcross.
Kirstie Gainey, from Woodlands Mead, said: “We get invited to a lot of boccia and curling, but for our able-bodied students, it is nice to come to something different.
“For us I think it is about self-confidence and experiencing new things they do not usually get to experience.
“It is really nice for them to feel they are active, and it is not a special needs event. It is also nice because it is non-competitive. Many of our children find the idea of winning and losing difficult to manage.”
Tom Usborne from TMU Sports led the tennis sessions, while Toby Dawson, from the leisure centre, led the squash.
Both of them commented on the children’s enthusiasm, with Toby adding: “Everybody has been engaged; they have participated in absolutely everything. It has been a bit of a dream!”
Jade Mitchell, a dance teacher from Popsteps, said: “Every single one of the children was joining in – it was lovely to see.
“It is nice to see events like this and see all the children getting involved. There has been such a variety.”