Sports Leaders UK inspires people and communities through nationally recognised leadership qualifications in sport, dance, volunteering and expeditions. It trains nearly 160,000 learners a year through 6,000 delivery centres across the UK. Learners from nine years old can develop essential life skills including organisation, motivation, communication and teamwork.
This article has been written by Sally Smith, aged 9, a PlayMaker from Milton Keynes:
“It’s quite exciting at the start of each week, because we plan new games each Monday and then we get to try them out with the children during the week.
Before we had PlayMaker, my friends and I just used to go off and play amongst ourselves, we didn’t really mix with a lot of the other children.
Mostly children of the same ages played together and didn’t mix age groups all that much.
But since PlayMaker has come along, that’s all changed. We start off by suggesting what sort of games we think everyone might enjoy, there’s usually a list of them we can choose from if we can’t think of anything off the top of our heads.
Then we decide what is the best way of planning the game or activity. This includes where might be the best place to have it because of things like safety, what space is available on the day, how long do we have to do it, how many children are likely to be around, that sort of thing. We are taught how to make sure everyone stays safe and knows what they are doing and to make sure everyone is having fun.
We take it in turns to actually lead the games and activities. Before I started PlayMaker I was quite a shy person really and I didn’t like talking in front of a crowd very much, it made me nervous. But PlayMaker has changed that. Now I like the leading best of all. It means you get to choose what to do and how to do it and I like that. I also like it because the other children come up and ask you questions and get you to help them in their activities.
I know everyone at school now and before I didn’t know many of the littler ones. They come up to me all the time and ask me to make up games and help them do things at breaks and lunchtime. That’s the bit I like most, now lots of the children look at me like I’m one of their teachers, not just another kid from school.
Now I really enjoy planning the activities and telling the other children what we want them to do, it doesn’t make me nervous at all any more. And if one of the other PlayMakers is leading and gets stuck or doesn’t know what to do, we’re always around to help them out. The teachers are never far away if we really get stuck.
This year, Sports Leaders from our local secondary school are going to be coming in to run our Sports Day and us PlayMakers are helping them out. We’re all really excited about that. We are going to help them organise the children for the different events, make sure they are in the right place at the right time, that sort of thing. It’s great, because we get to know the older children and also see some of those children who used to come to this school but have now moved on to secondary school. Secondary school doesn’t seem so scary now because we have met a lot of them already, so when we move up it won’t be quite such a jump for us.
I’m looking forward to moving up to my next school so that I can do more games and activities and carry on leading younger children. At secondary school you can do a Level 2 Award in Community Sports Leadership and we’re all looking forward to doing that and coming back to our old school to help out for the sports day!”