‘Much our children can learn’ from Olympic athletes, says school head

The headteacher of a pre-prep school in Liphook says pupils can learn a lot from of Olympic athletes, such as their determination and resilience in failure

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo now weeks away, the headteacher of a nursery and pre-prep independent school in Liphook has drawn parallels between top-level sport and learning.

Sophie Baber, headteacher at Brookham School, said: “The people competing in these Olympics and Paralympics are truly inspirational figures and we will have the privilege of watching them show off their skills and talent and demonstrate their steely resolve to earn a place on the winners’ podium.

“But what catapults these amazing individuals into legendary status is not their innate ability or physical prowess – these attributes alone don’t make a winner. Putting in the hard graft, maintaining a singular focus and complete determination will be required to ensure they earn their gold medals.

“And there is much our children can learn from these individuals. By making the learning behaviours explicit to children, we give them the tools to go for gold no matter what the subject or focus.”

Baber said children must learn that “practice does not make perfect but does instead make progress” and not to give up when learning is hard.

She highlighted the importance of children listening to others and reflecting on the information they are given to inform their learning.

As even the best Olympians have experienced failure at times, Baber said winning should not be the be-all and end-all.

“While it is important to have a goal, if the winning or getting things right becomes the sole focus, children are setting themselves up to struggle.

“A huge amount of upset can be caused if you constantly put yourself down when you lose and learning opportunities missed if wins are celebrated but not reflected upon. Children should be taught to make the most of the learning opportunities in every mistake and encouraged to review and improve their learning.”

Highfield and Brookham Schools were delighted to welcome spectators back on-site to watch children play cricket at the start of June.

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