Many of us can recall our school days. No doubt, teachers were always very dedicated to their students and in the midst of the school work, students would engage in extra-curricular activities.
However, in the long vacation period, July to August, there was hardly any well-planned sporting or cultural engagement for the children to enjoy themselves.
And even when some people attempted to organise some type of activity for the children, the intention was usually designed to occupy the children with simple games or just casual fun, and in some cases, simple PE activity with parents just pleased to have their children occupied.
During my youthful days, I joined the other children in our village to play any type of sport, maybe go for a swim in the nearest river, or even the excitement of just pitching marbles against friends.
I will be ungrateful not to admit that games like cricket, football, table tennis and hockey attracted the attention for real action. Satisfied with most of them, I turned myself into a ‘ball peon’. My holidays were happy at all times!
As the years rolled by, I travelled extensively to countries which were able to cater specifically for the development of their children by way of enhancing motor skills, using some of the popular sports and in many cases, going for swims in the nearest river.
The German way
During the extensive course of my studies at the German College of Physical Culture in Leipzig, many in the group were not impressed, seeing that the content of the course focused on the development of children.
The professors were carefully insisting the commitment to the easiest exercise-oriented format by way of the course.
The students asked for explanation as to the methodology and discussed it intensely with the tutors. After some six months, I was filled with enthusiasm to return home and implement. This was in 1976.
I continued my quest for information and one professor Dr Yohannes Rae, who lectured Sports Psychology, was the gentleman whom I chose. He started with a philosophical concept of developing human beings from the youngest ages.
We travelled to 11 small cities and the professor pointed out the number of sporting facilities which were placed within easy reach for children in the various districts.
He jovially mentioned that in Germany, primary attention was given to ensure that children have all the facilities for the major sports well maintained; the programmes conducted by relevant highly qualified coaches. The children’s health was of absolute importance.
The concept was to choose the path of good health through good meals and great sporting facilities at all times in and around school activities.
He reiterated that the German way was to build a strong and healthy nation by putting all these facilities in EVERY community. They work towards avoiding their people having to be hospitalised for a want of lack of diet, inactivity regarding fitness. They prefer to give priority to keep their citizenry healthy.
In this summer programme, school children are requested to participate in this incredible concept, as their statistics have proven that the thrust of a healthy nation must be based upon providing good exercise physiology for ALL.
Prevention from ill health, rather than just keep building many hospitals is a priority. How about that method in our country!