Sports day…eagerly looked forward to by many, it can also be dreaded by others, including you. How can you make sure it is a day to remember for everyone, for all the right reasons?
A break from the usual school day, sports days can be a really rewarding experience. By choosing the activities carefully, you can help to build teamwork and cooperation, with children supporting and encouraging each other. It can boost confidence and provide an opportunity to develop social skills. Bringing the whole school together also helps foster school spirit and pride, and, of course it is a great way to promote and encourage physical activity.
However, organising the event can feel daunting – being responsible for delivering an event involving multiple classes and possibly parents and teachers…Here we outline our 10 steps for success.
10 steps for a successful sports day
- Set the date and time well in advance. Check the school calendar to make sure there are no clashes and the date works for everyone involved – teachers, pupils and parents. Decide how long it will last and what role your colleagues and parents will play – will they participate, supervise, spectate only?
- Decide on what you want to achieve from the event. Is it a celebration of physical activity and personal achievement or do you want to unite your school and encourage pupils to work together? Setting an objective will help you organise your plan for the day.
- Decide on the activities. Reflect on your objective for the day and choose activities that will best help you achieve your goal. Consider involving pupils in choosing a theme and/or deciding on what activities to include.
- Decide how teams will be formed. Will you divide pupils into teams or will you allocate that task to a student group, perhaps with some guidance? Make sure each team has a mix of abilities and talents.
- Consider how you will recognise success. Is it first past the post or are there rewards for effort, contribution, teamwork, creativity? Who will decide on the winners? How will you recognise success – certificates, medals?
- Assign responsibilities. Who will be present – teachers, parents, volunteers? Who will be able to assist and how? Could they help to set up the venue or activity stations? What about managing the different activities so the event works in carousel form? Who will provide first aid or supervise groups/teams as they move between activity stations or wait for their turn?
- Plan the day. What will happen when? What is the order of activities? How long do you need to allow for each event? By setting out your timings you will ensure you allow sufficient time, children won’t be hanging around getting bored and you (and they) won’t be rushing.
- Plan for safety. Ensure you have a nominated first aider, and that everyone knows who this is and where they will be during the event. If you are allowing parents on site for the event, make sure they know where they need to stand/sit and if there are any areas that are out of bounds.
- Consider the weather. Do you need a wet weather option – either a scaled back event that takes place in the school hall or fewer/shorter activities outside? If it’s hot, do you have water readily available? Make sure children arrive prepared with sunblock and hats.
- Promote the event. Posters in school, announcements in assembly, reminders during classes, practice days…these all help to create excitement and encourage everyone to get involved.
Sports day is a special moment in the school calendar. As well as being a chance to show that there is more to school life than academic success, it gives children who struggle to achieve elsewhere the chance to shine. But most importantly, it is an opportunity for a school to live out its values.