At the Crich recreation ground, The PLACE Project has rejuvenated the play area and the facilities provide children with opportunities to climb, balance, swing and slide, while the slopes and open spaces invite running and rolling. The outdoor gym equipment gives older youngsters the chance to exercise in the fresh air and goal posts remain in place for a traditional kick about.
Organised activities, such as Kathleen Creswell’s dance classes at the Glebe, offer children from three years old the chance to take part in street and ballroom dancing. Scouts offers a wide range of opportunities to be active, with something to suit everyone from aged 5 to 18. Active games form a part of each session. Individuals can complete challenge badges in sporting activities including swimming or cycling. As well as traditional camping, there are night hikes and chances to take part in tree and rock climbing, canoeing and abseiling throughout the year.
For sports teams, our young people must travel further afield. One Crich resident, Gavin Clark, coaches Tansley Juniors Football Club.All but one of the U8s team's registered players attends school in Crich or the neighbouring villages. While keen to encourage young people to be active, Gavin sees the wider benefits of team supports as equally important. ‘I got involved with Tansley Juniors FC to promote being active as part of a supportive social group,’ he says. ‘Football is much more than winning or losing matches. Children from age five are able to train, learn about the game and, most importantly, have fun. My main aim is to make sure my players enjoy the sport.’
Our schools and Pre-School are deeply committed to encouraging activity and opportunities are embedded into the children’s daily experiences within these settings.
At Crich Carr all pupils, from reception to year 6, take part in extra-curricular sports activities with many varied sports on offer including tag rugby, hockey, basketball, tennis, table tennis, athletics, gymnastics, dance, water polo, martial arts, bikeability and archery. There are lots of opportunities to take part in sporting competitions and the new climbing equipment and balance bikes enable children to keep fit and have lots of fun.
Pupils at Fritchley School take part in 'Wake and Shake’, a 10 minute workout at the start of the day, and the Golden Mile, an initiative to get children running at lunchtimes. There are also several after-school sports clubs available for the children.
Julie Kirk, the Head Teacher at Crich Infants, told me:
‘ Learning happens inside and outside every day here, with physicality being key throughout the day.’
This develops the habit of active living and has benefits for the children’s learning too.
‘Many of the activities are designed to develop core strength which is an essential skill for writing,’ says Julie. ‘Outdoor activity may at first glance look like it has nothing to do with writing – for example, manoeuvring a scooter or using the climbing wall. However, these activities develop persistence, resilience and strengthen hands to develop effective posture and writing tool grip.’
Even when engaged in written tasks, children are invited to have ‘tummy time’, which develops core strength and aids handwriting skills.
Forest schools are an increasingly popular way of encouraging a love of outdoor activity, and Crich Infants and Pre-School together explore all the woodland has to offer on Friday afternoons.
Sessions allow opportunities for the children to follow their own interests and ideas through dynamic play and exploration while developing social skills, taking on roles that may not naturally occur in an indoor setting. Children have the chance to develop self-confidence, independence and judgement through challenge and supported risk-taking in a safe environment while enjoying being outdoors and active.
Sadie Hartshorne is the co-ordinator of Crich Pre-School’s Every Child A Mover project.
‘Children crave opportunities to move in a variety of ways and we endeavour to support this by creating a safe movement rich environment,’ she says.
‘Movement and activity are part of every session, be it exploring our outdoor play area, taking a walk to discover what our local area has to offer, or active play indoors. Our indoor climbing frame allows children to clamber, twist and crawl, providing them with challenge and puzzle. By establishing movement and activity as central to what we do every day, we help to protect against the risks of childhood obesity.
Sports Leaders from Crich Juniors provide excellent role models for the Pre-School children, visiting them during the summer term to lead various activities. These pupils train, plan and deliver sports activities in school and the wider community. Cheryl Julian, Head of Crich Juniors, emphasises how inclusivity is at the heart of the school’s ethos:
‘We meet the needs and interests of all our school community in all we do. This is followed through in sport by providing a diverse range of active learning, from mindfulness and Tabata [a type of interval training] to Kabbaddi [a ‘tag’ sport] and Bollywood dancing. We are evolving a programme using Taiko drums to encourage physical activity, in particular, upper body strength and coordination. We’re rolling this out to the wider community, including parents and our friends from Derby Refugee Centre.
And as spring comes along and the days get longer there are more opportunities to be active together as families, making the most of our beautiful surroundings. Perhaps den building in the woods together, climbing to the top of the Stand for a game of I-Spy or a walk to the canal to feed the ducks ...