Early in the school year I found out that Sports Day would be one of the most important events of the year for me. Many students recounted how it was a highlight for them and that they looked forward to it this year. One even demanded that it become a full day event held off site at a "proper" sports facility. I learned that it had traditionally been a half day event for secondary students that was held at the school.
At the end of January, following a PTA meeting, I learned that since it was the 20th Anniversary, the PTA would like the Sports day to include the entire school AND to be a full day of events AND to be held off-site. Wow -- This was about to take on a whole new life of it's own. (and take over most of my time!)
As I began to work with the committee, I discovered that a whole school day had never been done! In fact, we were breaking new ground in a lot of ways - new venue, adding the middle school students, a whole day for secondary... I also decided that it was time to shake things up even more by changing the structure of the day to achieve to goals -- i. get everyone moving more; and ii. give the senior students an opportunity to practice leading.
As it turns out, these two goals were much bigger that I anticipated. Tradition at Maple Leaf (and in most other schools here) is that the Sport Day events are a mix of "church picnic" style things (sack races) and athletics (50 m dash). A few students from each grade and house are selected to compete in each event. So a student might compete in two or three events over the course of the day. Medals and house points were awarded at the end of the day. My idea of changing to a day of events where everyone participated (students would rotate from event to event) and secondary students lead (organized and lead events, as well as leading teams of little ones) was met with skepticism by some on the organizing committee. It was surprisingly easy to achieve consensus that we could move away from awarding medals. In addition, I set my sites a little higher and contacted a local company that organizes kids adventure races to see if they could provide some events. They suggested a few things and were really keen on an obstacle course!
The culmination of all this change and planning was March 27th. A day like never before at Maple Leaf! Over 40 students were given leadership positions -- supported by an unbelievably caring staff! Over the course of the day we had 16 events for students, 5 whole house events, a series of tugs of war, a water slide, a bouncy castle, football games and most importantly, a ton of FUN.
The pictures and smiles speak in a way that is much better than my story telling!
You can see lots more pictures by clicking here!