A Calgary family shares their experiences

Some may think a day filled with academics, school sports, homework, and other hobbies sounds like a recipe for exhaustion for young children. However, there have been multiple studies conducted that indicate that this lifestyle can have just the opposite effect.

 Some Calgary families say they agree with such suggestions. The Kemp family says this busy lifestyle has made their daughters more efficient and confident; which in turn can boost their academic success.

Twins Riley and Jayden Kemp began participating in school sports when they were in Grade 5. They are now 13 years-old, in Grade 8, and on the senior girls volleyball team at St. Elizabeth Seton School. Both girls find time to complete their schoolwork, join school teams, and participate in other sports outside of school including ringette and lacrosse.

They feel this large amount of activity has helped them to develop time management skills.Jayden Kemp concentrates on the ball at early morning practice.

Photo by: Deja Leonard

For instance, Riley recalls days where she has had two sports in one night, so she worked extra hard during class time to finish her assignments.

According to the American Journal of Lifestyle, an investigation in a suburb of Paris, France, indicated similar outcomes in a small group of primary school students.

The authors asserted that “despite a 26 per cent reduction in the time allocated
to academic work, students who spent mornings in the classroom and afternoons undertaking a variety of physical activities (gymnastics, swimming, training, sports and outdoor pursuits, to a total of 15 hours per week) had a better academic performance than control students who were given only two hours of athletic activity per week.”

They came to the conclusion that, “in essence, active students compensated for a reduction of academic instruction time by greater efficiency of the learning process.”

Another study from the journal says that researchers have found an immediate increase of concentration in young students in response to 15 minutes of simply stretching and walking.

The girls line up and get prepared for the next drill, lead by head coach, Andrina Boyles.

Photo by: Deja LeonardThe staff at St. Elizabeth Seton also see a link between the participation in school sports and success in a student’s junior high education.

Coach of the senior girls volleyball team, Andrina Boyles, witnesses first hand the positive effects drawn from youth participation in school sports.

Proudly she states, “the athletics that we offer after school is just another means of kids expending energy, and just living a healthier lifestyle in general.”

She observed that student athletes are more focused and confident in their environment, which in turn can lead them to excel in academics.

While both Kemp sisters agree that the best part about being on the “Sting” volleyball team is making new friends and having fun at school, their mother, Sherri, believes that although it takes a large amount of organization, to a certain extent it is good to keep your family busy.

She encourages her children to participate in multiple sports because she says it is important to “enjoy all sports and to try a variety of sports rather than just trying to excel at one.”

Sherri also says she believes that because Jayden and Riley’s coaches are also their teachers in other subjects, it can make them more efficient students.

She says, “I do know that they would think about how it would look to that teacher if they couldn’t keep their grades up or didn’t do certain assignments.”

dleonard@cjournal.ca