Monday, 04 July 2016
Wheelchair racing and blind long jump were just some of the challenges that schoolchildren faced as part of a day of Olympic and Paralympic themed activities put on by the University of Worcester.
Year Six pupils from Dines Green Primary School in Worcester worked with second year Primary Education undergraduates on a fact finding project themed around countries taking part in the Rio Olympic Games this summer.
They then got to experience the challenges of Paralympic sport first-hand with a taster session.
The University hopes to put on further such events and involve other schools.
Pupils attended The Hive, the University and Worcestershire County Council’s joint library, where they were divided into three groups supervised by two University students.
Each group used the library’s books and iPads to research their country, China, America or Brazil, and created a poster with facts and figures on its culture, animals, geography, Olympic history and famous athletes.
They also looked at Olympic and Paralympic values like courage, determination and equality.
In the afternoon, pupils got a taste of disability sport, with activities like seated volleyball, again directed by the trainee teachers at the University’s Riverside building.
Throughout the day, pupils accrued coins for showing qualities like good behaviour, enthusiasm and perseverance with China crowned the winner.
The event, organised by the University’s Institute of Education, was designed to raise children’s aspirations but also to widen their knowledge of disability sport.
Through their work children learnt how a university qualification could be used and who might have them, from athletes to journalists covering the Games.
But it was also an opportunity for the budding teachers to test their skills.
Viv Cooke, head of the Primary Centre, said: “It’s bringing the University and local schools together working in partnership.
“It’s developing their knowledge of disability sport but it’s about raising aspirations and making children aware of the opportunities of going to the University in the future.”
Trainee teacher Ella Follis, 20, said: “It’s nice to be able to do the Paralympics rather than just the Olympics because half of the children don’t know much about it and they have learnt a lot and really enjoyed it.”
Dines Green Year Six teacher Rebecca Reeder said: “It’s an incredible opportunity to show them what they can achieve with hard work and perseverance.”