Physical activity is a critical part of a child’s development, and in the digital age, television and electronic games are resulting in children spending less time developing critical skills. Taking part in any exercise significantly reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in adulthood. As of 2010, one in three children in the United States was overweight, and the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports states that “encouraging moderate and vigorous physical activity among youth is important,” as the habits learned as a child are often carried through to adulthood. The fundamental motor skills such as kicking, catching, throwing and hitting are important gross motor skills require by pre-school children. These skills are often found to be at an insufficient level upon entering primary school. Our sports programs not only develop these skills, but also improve hand-eye coordination, balance and spatial awareness. In addition to the physical benefits; our sport program also improve self-confidence, self-esteem, social development, sharing, concentration, independence, sportsmanship and group and individual learning experiences.
At Portland Language Arts we are committed to providing different sports during the school year. Our program includes core activities and seasonal activities based on the weather and availability of coaches in the particular sport. Our core program includes structured and unstructured activities. Structured activities include Gymnastics and movement (as an element of our music program) is weekly. Unstructured activities include a jungle gym, and bicycles. Our seasonal activities in the past have included tennis (based on USTA guidelines), mini-football (soccer) and table tennis.
Gymnastics is one of the most comprehensive lifestyle exercise programs available to children, incorporating strength, flexibility, speed, balance, coordination, power, and discipline, all while having fun. Gymnastics helps children build a range of motor and coordination skills, and assists in developing a good sense of body awareness. A young gymnast will learn how to use different parts of her body in difference ways. Participation in gymnastics develops body awareness, control, and coordination, which can be beneficial to other physical activities, sports, and in everyday life.
Football (soccer) develops agility, speed and stamina, and also teaches children the importance of teamwork, so it can play an important part in your child’s physical and social development. Soccer players need to be fit and agile. Most games require children to sprint after the ball and jog up and down the field, which are activities that build endurance and speed. Dribbling and shooting the ball develops agility and coordination. The health benefits of active sports such as soccer include stronger bones and muscles. Playing with a soccer team develops a child’s ability to cooperate and interact with other children. To win a soccer game, the whole team must communicate and work together. Defensive positions must support the midfield and offensive positions during attacks on the opponents’ goal. Offensive positions must return to their own goal to help the defensive positions when they are under pressure from the other team. To move the ball up the field, players pass the ball, which requires communicating. These types of cooperative activities develop a child's social abilities. Children who play soccer develop self-confidence and improved social skills.
Tennis is, without doubt, good for the mind and body. Playing tennis regularly has many physical and psychological health benefits associated with it. These health benefits are particularly important for a child’s physical, emotional and mental development. Some of the key physical benefits include: general body coordination, gross and fine motor skill development, agility, improved balance, eye-hand coordination, and flexibility. [Ref: ITF]