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Education and high-performance sport

Education and high-performance sport

Have you ever stopped to think about the benefits of combining education and high-performance sport in the same school? At Agora International School Andorra we’ve been doing it for years and we know, first-hand, what they all are.

Following the publication of his book ‘Metamorphosis’, Albert Álvarez, athlete and professional pole vaulter, has spoken out loud and clear about how sport saved his life: he says that he had a tough adolescence, that almost all the boys he used to go out with ended up in prison and that at some point he came to believe that it was his destiny. However, the CAR gave him a scholarship to continue his sporting career and, two years later, Alberto accepted. “Either I turned my life around or I would end up in prison. I accepted the offer and thank God I didn’t get lost, a new life opened up for me,” he stresses.

The example of this elite sportsman serves to show us one of all the advantages that high performance sport brings in the development of children and teenagers. At Agora International School Andorra we are firmly committed to the health of our pupils and, for this reason, we teach them health through sport and healthy habits. In this way, they will become physically and emotionally balanced adults.

This is a very important thing to bear in mind as the figures for childhood obesity continue to rise all over the world. Currently, it is one of the most worrying diseases in children: according to data from the Childhood Observatory, it is estimated that around 155 million school-age children suffer from it. These figures are also worrying if we take into account the fact that children’s sedentary lifestyles are also increasing by leaps and bounds.

It is therefore more important than ever to take sport into consideration at school age. Apart from the obvious physical benefits, it has been scientifically proven that combining sport and learning curricular subjects such as mathematics increases motivation when studying. This was discussed in the project Thinking while moving in Maths’, carried out by researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia. They decided to implement a programme that combined the learning of maths with physical exercise and the results were not long in coming: they observed greater motivation in students when studying the curricular subject. Why? Because, according to the teachers at the school where it was implemented, the children did not feel under as much pressure to solve problems. When combined with another activity, they were less afraid of failure.

Indeed, sport is health in every sense of the word. And if children practice high-performance sport and, moreover, do so without leaving school, these benefits will multiply.

High-performance sport, education and discipline

In addition to all the physical benefits associated with practising sport in childhood, we must add the social and emotional advantages for students. Practising sport from an early age fosters, among other things, discipline: children learn to be responsible, that they have to perform in their sporting activity, but without neglecting their academic life. It also includes the ability to grow as a person by relating and interacting with others (especially when it comes to team sports).

In the emotional field, the practice of sport helps children to gain self-confidence: seeing that they are capable of achieving everything they set out to achieve with hard work and effort, they will see it rewarded in their self-esteem.

A programme that combines high-performance sport with education

At Agora International School Andorra we make it very easy for those students who want to become professional sportspeople: we allow them to combine their sporting activity with their academic career thanks to our high performance sport project.

We have created different ski and football technification programmes that allow us to adapt timetables and subjects to make them compatible with training, enabling students to develop a sporting career without neglecting their school career. However, we know the importance of personalising the programme and, for this reason, each case is assessed individually through the monitoring of a tutor who will evaluate, if necessary, the reinforcement classes according to the needs of each student.

In addition to this high-performance sports programme, we also encourage the practice of sports from Infants and Primary School onwards: we include in our curriculum at these levels the possibility of swimming, tennis, kung-fu, chess and the two mentioned above. Students who excel in their speciality can opt for the programme described above to combine technique with the academic programme.

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