Physical education is an important part of each and every child’s primary school experience. It offers the children a time to relax, enjoy themselves and express their interest in a variety of sports as well as encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle in later life.
Volunteers from the Football Foundation section of the Grootbos Foundation have been able to give the children at Hawston Primary School exactly this experience by engaging with them outside of their usual classroom environment. By taking part in twenty minutes of fun-filled activities with the coaches and volunteers, the children from Hawston Primary are being introduced to a world of sporting fun rarely provided in many semi-rural communities in the Western Cape region. The Grootbos Foundation is dedicated to providing sport as a means of opportunity, raising awareness of the importance of being healthy, and more importantly offering a new and refreshing approach to education through sport outside the classroom environment.
The volunteers arrive at the school at 08:30 every Tuesday to Friday where they are greeted by enthusiastic and energetic children who are all desperate to get outside and start running around. The volunteers work with children in Grade R all the way up to grade 5 on different days working with four different classes in each grade; meaning approximately 120 children experience sporting fun in the space of only 75 minutes. Luckily for the volunteer coaches, the classes come out one by one where the boys and girls are split into two different groups in order to guarantee everyone has an equal turn at taking part.
The choice of activity can range from fun games and activities that each individual volunteer brings to the group in an attempt to keep everybody entertained in a controlled environment. There are also specific multi-skilled sessions where the children are involved in football or hockey based training drills brought to them by qualified coaches from Germany and the United Kingdom. The project has been in place for one year and 5 months, and already the Grootbos Foundation has seen marked improvements in ability, health awareness and commitment.
Sports and fun activities outside of the classroom environment are vital. The core principles of discipline, fun, teamwork; leadership, engagement, commitment and physical wellbeing are as essential in life, as they are in sport. The Grootbos Foundation believes that by providing this opportunity to children, they broaden the horizons of the youth in society – their mission is simple according to Leni Hofmman, a volunteer coach from Hamburg, Germany, “by introducing sports and fun activities for the children of Hawston, we challenge them to dream big. The commitment and hard work they show can be transferred into other areas of their lives in the future and the work we are doing is pretty special.”
The Grootbos Foundation aims to run the football foundation section at Hawston for years to come as part of providing a sustainable and advantageous opportunity for the youth of the Hermanus area. The success of the Hawston Primary School project is unachievable without the backing and awareness of the community too. “It’s important that the community are aware of the projects the non-for profit organisation (Grootbos Foundation) run in the area, we aim to leave a positive and sustainable stamp in what we do and challenge society to get involved,” Leni Hofmman continued before rushing off to his coaching duties.
Written by Jack Garrett, a Sheffield Hallam University Student on exchange @GrootbosFoundation and Edited by Matthew James Kirk, PR and Media Intern @GrootbosFoundation