Kids get outdoors again

Let's Play stimulates physical activity in the critical foundation stage

Let's Play stimulates physical activity in the critical foundation stage

Launched by SuperSport in 1995, Let’s Play is a corporate social responsibility initiative focused on stimulating physical activity in the youth market. It targets all children, abled or disabled, in the critical foundation stage (six to 12 years old) of their learning and development.

With an annual operating budget of R2.7-million, Let’s Play operates through close relationships with activation partners, who run on-the-ground programmes in schools and communities. These are designed to teach basic movement and co-ordination as well as develop sporting skills, age-specific activities, and regular monitoring of physical development. The initiative’s programmes and events are focused on play and fun, without competitive pressure.

“Children do not know how to play anymore. They cannot catch balls or walk on a balance beam. Instead of heading outdoors for an afternoon of fun and activity, they are tied to television screens and video games. Or worse, they cure their boredom with alcohol, drugs and crime,” says Vaughn Bishop, manager of CSI and Enterprises at SuperSport.

The challenge

He says that with the initiative turning 10 this year, SuperSport has launched its biggest fitness driver to date with the Let’s Play Physical Education Challenge.

“With the support of the department of basic education, department of sport and recreation, Unicef SA, and the Physical Education Institute of SA, Let’s Play has challenged primary schools throughout the country to prove that they are the fittest.”

Its aim is to reinforce the instruction of curriculum-oriented physical education and to promote physical activity in all primary schools. The challenge kicked off in April and

is a nationwide ?event targeted at 10- and 11-year-old boys and girls from 500 primary schools initially. It is expected that more than 100 000 learners will participate in the programme, with 98% of the children being black.

The fittest primary school per province will compete for the winner’s title; the grand prize is a R1.2-million multi-purpose sport court, to be built at the winning school. Let’s Play coaching teams will target various schools on a daily basis to run the challenge. The fittest learners per school will compete, after which the top three schools per province will qualify for the provincial semi-final, leading to an overall provincial winner.

Funded entirely by SuperSport in its inaugural year, the initiative will culminate in a national final, to be broadcast live on November 5. However, Let’s Play has indicated that it will source additional sponsors and partners to continue with the project on an annual basis. Already, it is targeting 1 000 primary schools for next year.

“The project is aligned to the development strategy of the government. We have seen that external role-players such as the regional department of basic education and the local municipalities all contribute to creating a sustainable sporting culture in our communities,” says Bishop.

Getting kids active

He believes that the challenge has revived the curriculum-based physical education process required in schools. In addition, Bishop says that it has improved fitness, physical skills, body image, confidence, and self-esteem in participants.

“SuperSport recognises that as a corporation it is not merely a broadcaster. It is an influencer, a voice that society looks up to and admires. Its ability to positively influence society has been harnessed in a way that will truly benefit many generations to come,” he concludes.