Picture this: An academic brainstorming session - Principal of GIIS Tokyo putting forth the following idea - “Why don’t we have a winter sports camp?
“We can have sports like basketball and cricket, badminton and soccer.”
Fast forward ten days and in that short time, we had a plan and just over a hundred children who had signed up.
It has turned into one of the most spectacularly successful ventures by GIIS Tokyo. For the first week, children explored soccer and badminton, having a full day of each, then switching. This allowed children to be immersed in their sport, to develop their skills with adequate and consistent practice over a sustained period of time. For the second week, the sports were basketball and cricket. Cricket is a strategy game and quite complex with the skills, so the students worked on skills that involved lots of brain work.
And we mustn’t forget the mornings - Mr Nilesh led children in a series of warm up exercises and games that had everyone moving and developing their core strength, flexibility and endurance. Even our very youngest children were involved in the morning routines.
Our youngest children then went on to have a series of games and activities appropriate for their age group. Early Years is a time of incredible growth neurologically and providing children with skills that work vestibular, proprioception and strength is essential. Play based activities kept children creatively occupied and safe, and working through all planes - sagittal, frontal and transverse.
We are thankful to Aomori university for supplying us with the space needed for our camp - a large open field and an enormous auditorium. The Seishincho campus (where our GMP programme is conducted) was the perfect space for children to relax, have snacks and short breaks in between sessions and to eat their lunches.
The teaching team involved in setting up the camp is also to be commended for their willingness and enthusiasm. Developing attendance procedures, sharing ideas, maintaining vigilance for our students’ safety, taking time to encourage each other and generally enjoying the time and space showed their dedication to their charges.
The camp had “just right” timings - ten am to two pm - which proved more than enough time to keep our youngsters involved without them getting too tired. I am sure they slept well when they went home!
Ms Carole Saunders