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Learning through playing in Quito

Copyrights: Little Kickers

Learning through playing in Quito

Julian Mora lays out the important role of sport and play in improving kids' academic performance.

Sports are a powerful educational tool because sports create valuable opportunities, break stereotypes, and strives for inclusiveness. They can become a bond of integration and inclusion within a community. Soccer for example has the power to transform lives. In Quito, Ecuador, the international soccer franchise Little Kickers leads the social programme Your Smile is My Goal, for children with mental disabilities and down syndrome. For one hour a week, these children receive a fun soccer class based in values in which they learn to respect, share, work in teams, follow instructions and develop their physical abilities. Along with the project, children discover that sports are the best learning method and play a vital role in the daily struggle for the inclusion of vulnerable groups.

The best learning technique is playing. Through play, a person can develop motor, cognitive and interpersonal abilities. Games, creativity and imagination helps children develop basic physical abilities such as coordination, body balance, strength and also develop a healthy lifestyle. For a second, imagine a group of children who have just finished an hour of sports and recreation as part of their curriculum. After playing, and going back to class, children gain focus on the learning objectives and therefore increase their academical achievement.

The learning curve gets more entertaining outside the classroom thanks to imagination and creativity. Learning to add and subtract, for example, can be an activity that takes place in two spaces: in a checkered notebook, repeating numbers, and also while running to identify cones of different colours or counting and picking up soccer balls. For example, a ball is more than a circumference, it can become an egg of a dinosaur that needs to be rescued by overcoming challenges. I believe a ball is a circle of dreams. As a result, teachers can show how to respect your classmates, act as a team, or simply to jump in a coordinated way, while having fun.
As we grow up, adults generally lose the essence of our nature, which is play. The challenge, then, is to help parents rediscover how it feels to run like a bear or jump like a monkey. Children learn by example, so if they see their mother enjoy, they do too. Creativity and imagination will be needed so that a rigid adult can become a kid for a moment and just play. This way sports have a positive impact in our lives.

If sports are not aligned to the school’s objectives and values, in some cases it can be more of a problem more than a benefit. Children can miss classes and decrease their academic level if sports don't promote academic excellence for example. Sports potential increases when you share a vision and clear objectives with the school you work with. This way you can use sports as an ally, as a powerful tool for kids learning and development.


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Julian Mora


Monday, February 25, 2019 - 09:17

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