Those days you spent learning archery on residentials or on minibeasts hunts in pairs with a magnifying glass are probably some of the most memorable moments of your school days. Day-to-day subtraction? Probably not so much.
The reason these moments stand out is that they gave us, as children, the opportunity, to explore, and gain new experiences. Even better, was without knowing it, we were putting those subtraction skills to good use, ticking off mini beasts.
The benefits to children, of course, are enormous, but where do you start? How can you begin putting together a program of enrichment when there are so many to choose from? A program that’s age-appropriate and fits the wider goals of your school? Look no further, here are just a few simple ways to embed a culture of enrichment activity in your school.
Start in the classroom
Some children move to secondary school, still thinking of school and their life outside of school as being basically foreign to each other. School becomes a place where they learn the skills, and sometimes, this is where those skills will stay. Enrichment offers them that soft platform to connect the two.
Teach multiplication with hula hoops and bean bags, or English with stories that encourage pupils, to understand nouns and verbs, roaring and prowling like lions! It’s so simple, but it can be engaging on a variety of levels. The key concepts can reflect their age and level, but provide practical, active enrichment, while in the classroom. Pupils will easily get used to this type of engagement and it will quickly become a staple in their school day.
Lots of enrichment activities tend to focus on pupils who need more help. Why not use the same activities to stretch high-achieving children? Offer more advanced scenarios, and games of logic to get them thinking about how to apply those skills in more complex situations. Extend their learning experiences, all while using the same basic structures.
What about before school…
…after school and lunchtimes? Yes, it does take the pressure off working parents. More than 70% of parents said they couldn’t return to work without wraparound care. There is more to it though! Time spent being active during these periods of the day, will provide you with more alert, more focussed pupils. Give them opportunities to have free play but add sports clubs and activities that will help them develop interests in formal sports.
Clubs and classes of this nature are less regimented than class time. It will give them some time to come up with their own games, work on the skills that really bring them joy, and they’ll stick. If they have a positive memory of that time, they’ll keep going at 15, 20, and 30. Hopefully even beyond that! Breakfast clubs, after school clubs and lunchtime clubs, can offer sports like football and netball as well as teaching pre-pedal and cycling skills. First Step PE should be your first port of call when looking at spicing up your school enrichment!
Get the whole school involved!
Sports days are the most straightforward way to embed enrichment. It is truly astonishing how much fun you can have with an Egg & Spoon race! When it comes to equipment, resources, and training, you can rely on First Step PE to support you with all the detail. Sports days, however, are not just about the sport.
It’s about having competition introduced to pupils in a healthy positive way. It’s about experiencing the outdoors with their peers. It’s also an opportunity to learn self-motivation, to push themselves to learn balance, hand-eye coordination…all those gross motor skills and often in a very short space of time. Basically, it’s a challenge!
Sports days introduce children to a range of sports and activities. It tests their skills, helps them understand how to navigate different terrains or take notice of others and learn from their successes or mistakes. The whole school can take part and it can be something that you can prepare students for throughout the year with tester events within classes. For more information on intra-school competition, you can see our guide here.
Get creative. Look at World Book Day. Lots of opportunities for lions, witches, and wardrobes to get dramatic in a school assembly. Or a classroom for that matter.
Get into the great outdoors
Fencing, archery, orienteering and much more can all be enjoyed on school trips. Residentials where children get to explore crawling in the mud or understanding how to hit targets. You can teach orienteering in a museum, with groups of children off to find clues, using their maps. You can use local sites, parks, and wildlife reserves too. Use this opportunity to instil some passion and respect for their local environments. Including the mini beasts!
Need support? More direction? Talk to First Step PE for all your enrichment and PE needs. We always hit the mark!