Tamlin Howard, Sport & Visual Arts Teacher
Lining up for what seemed like forever for a turn or getting ‘out’ at the start of a game are some of my early memories of PE lessons in a school environment where the sports captains achieved the recognition or opportunities and the others got left behind.
Teaching sport in a Montessori environment is a world away from that scenario, it’s an environment where children participate and where the developmental and physical needs of each child are of equal importance.
So how does the prepared sports environment align with the School’s methodology of meeting every child’s needs?
The FMS community has made the world of difference by raising the money for the new oval, a multi-purpose space for learning and play. A space with purpose made goals and adaptable hoops, nets that can be hung at different heights and a surface that can be played on all year round rain or shine. It’s an environment that has been designed and used to maximise engagement and accessibility for all interests, ages, sizes and abilities.
In the classroom the children have access to beautiful materials, purpose made for their stage of development; so why should it be any different for sport?
Since the start of 2016 FMS has been actively involved in the Australian Sports Commission ‘Sporting Schools’ program, which has enabled us to receive funding each term for specialist coaching sessions and brand new sports specific equipment. Size and developmental appropriate equipment such as: 25% compression tennis balls with a lower bounce, shorter handle rackets, smaller soccer balls, soft cricket and T-balls, connectable gym mats and adaptable athletics equipment to name a few.
It’s with this developmentally appropriate equipment that each child is able to explore the possibilities of what they can do through adapted games and activities, providing every child with opportunities to explore for example, “How do I throw further? What happens if I move my target? How can we make this more challenging?”
As each child matures and grows in confidence they begin to adapt or create the activities and scenarios for themselves and their peers. They develop co-operation and teamwork, they mentor others and adapt the challenges to suit their own abilities and in turn they grow to achieve their own personal best.
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