The youngest attendees at King’s Ely are walking – and running and dancing – along a new pathway of physical education and games at the school.
Catering to children from the age of two, the institution’s pre-prep – King’s Ely Acremont – has begun a new programme offering a wider view of the sports they can expect to engage in as they progress through the school.
“The introduction of specific sports at King’s Ely Acremont allows the children to have exposure to some of the school’s mainstream sports at an earlier age and underpin their learning experience,” said the school’s director of sport, Henning Kaaber, who arrived at King’s Ely in September following a four-year spell as housemaster and head of rugby at Burford School.
“All games and activities are fully conditioned and appropriate to the development and capability of the children,” he added. “The principle aim is, as ever, to enjoy learning new skills in a vibrant and fun way.”
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The overarching idea, explained Faye Fenton-Stone, head of King’s Ely Acremont, is to plot a clear route for the development of PE and games at the school, beginning in reception and ending in year 13.
“As parents and educators, we are all aware of the benefits of physical exercise and, over recent years, there has rightly been greater importance given to it in the early years,” she said.
“We value the benefits of physical activity, be that dance, drama or hockey in year one and year two, or the development of key motor skills such as balance, co-ordination and agility in nursery and reception. Over the last year, we have extended time spent in outdoor play and the amount of time dedicated to sport in our curriculum.
“Increased core strength, resilience, collaboration and team spirit also filter back into classroom learning and offer children additional routes to success or achievement. In a fun and supportive environment, the children learn to challenge themselves and discover that having a go can be exciting, and that it is not always about the big win but the small steps along the way.
“Through a well-developed programme, the children build up their fundamental motor skills through a wide range of sports, including hockey, tag rugby, athletics, swimming, and gymnastics. These then extend into sports-specific skills and gameplay.”