We went into this school year with far less anxiety than last year and even more anticipation, if that’s even possible. The school here has quite simply become the thing we love most about living in England, much to my surprise. And while I certainly thought the school looked amazing before we moved, the kids love it even more than I do (which is a lot). About two weeks into this past summer break, Gabe remarked that he wished summer weren’t so long because school is so fun. When a 10-yr old boy says that, you know you’ve got a good thing going.
The thing is, the kids love school because school here IS fun, in large part because they get to play sports during the school day almost every day of the week. And what’s not to love about that?
As I’ve said before, there is far more activity built into the school day and week here than the kids had in the States. Twice a week for 90-minutes each, Gabe and Owen have a Games lesson, which is essentially sports practice for whatever the sport is that season (and that is in addition to the hour of P.E. they have every week, too). Right now we’re in football (soccer) season. In addition to the three hours per week they spend in games lessons, they also each have football club after school once a week for another hour. Plus they play games against teams from other schools every few weeks.
Quinn, in Year 2, also has Games once a week this year, which is basically the most exciting thing EVER if you ask his opinion. He shares every little detail of his lessons with me when I pick him up on a Monday afternoon. What a difference it makes in all my boys’ attitudes about school to have a bit more sport thrown into their days.
In addition to football (soccer), all the kids in the school have a one hour swim lesson every week. Both Gabe and Owen are on the school swim team, so they also have after school swim practice once a week and a swim meet against another school just about every other week.
And, on top of all that, the school also has a cross-country team that competes against other schools periodically throughout the year. Gabe and Owen are both on the team, and Owen came in 2nd in his last meet out of a field of 72 kids! And then, as if that weren’t enough activity, there is a school-wide cross-country race once a term in which every child participates.
It almost sounds like with all this sport, there’s barely enough time to be in class, but the truth is, it’s spread out so nicely over the course of the week and throughout the terms that it creates just the right balance of school work and physical activity. It means that, instead of dreading going to school, my boys actively look forward to it.
In which case, I say: Long live school sports!
(Also, I feel like I should add that all of these activities are at no additional cost — they are simply part of the school program! You know what’s EVEN BETTER than sports for kids? FREE SPORTS FOR KIDS!)