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Restoring the Balance

Posted: 11th February 2021 | Category: Headmaster's Blog

With everything that’s going on right now most of us long for balance, especially for our children. 

Skippers gets this right by weaving together strong mental and physical health, excellent academic progress while encouraging healthy social interactions and skills that will allow our children to thrive as positive contributors to our society.

This has always been at the forefront of our planning for Skippers’ children and we use research to inform our practice, not just in teaching and learning but also in our inclusion of  exercise and outdoor learning. What is clearly evident is how vital physical exercise and getting outdoors is in counterbalancing the extra time spent on screens and away from friends.

The benefits of exercise go far beyond muscular tone and strength. The discovery of a protein that is made during exercise called brain neurotrophic factor, basically a Miracle-Gro for the brain, is described in Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey. The book has not only influenced schools but whole countries such as Taiwan and South Korea, where they extended the school day by an hour to make more time for PE and Sports. Exercise has been found to bolster brain power and aid more efficient learning, improve handling of stress, reduce anxiety, alleviate depression and improve focus with some ADHD children. With these benefits in mind it is clear why outdoor and  physical activities are an essential part of the curriculum

Skippers take full advantage of the large outdoor surroundings and the woodland activities, led by the much respected and adored Jackie Parker, it is one of the highlights of their timetable. We take a very holistic approach to learning and are keenly aware of the broad spectrum of nourishment these activities bring to the children, including an appreciation and respect for nature. 

We are getting closer to welcoming our children back, and with that helping to restore the balance. The sounds of laughter and chatter filling the corridors can’t come quickly enough…

Phillip Makhouli 

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