Four schools have received the six week programme over the last academic year
Since September 2017, schools in East Lothian have been receiving direct gymnastics input and support to their physical education lessons. During early 2017, a programme of six weeks of lessons was developed to be delivered in early years classes in local primary schools by a qualified coach to improve the quality of gymnastics being delivered as well as up skill teachers to deliver and share information.
In September 2017, Pinkie St Peters PS in Musselburgh was the first school to receive the 6 week programme. The sessions were delivered to three nursery classes each week, while working with seven members of staff. The design of the programme meant that teachers and staff required minimal equipment to run the lessons.
The next school to receive input was Stoneyhill PS, also in Musselburgh then following the Christmas break, the lessons moved to Prestonpans Infants school and after the Easter break, St Martin PS in Tranent. Each of these schools all had participants from nursery through to P2 take part each week. Many of these pupils had no prior gymnastics experience, so lessons provided a huge in sight in to the sport.
The sessions were based on the Scottish Gymnastics Early Years Gymnastics resource, which was developed by East Lothian Council (ELC), enjoyleisure and Scottish Gymnastics. Technical gymnastics content was inputted by Catriona Morton, Gymnastics Development Officer for enjoyleisure and educational content by Marion Barclay, PE Lead Officer for ELC. This joint development means that the resource is fully compliant with curriculum for excellence making it a sustainable resource for schools.
Additionally, enjoyleisure has supported the project by providing a coach to lead the sessions, to ensure that the best possible sessions are being delivered as well as support teachers to develop their confidence and skills. Gymnastics and pre-school coach Pamela Marr worked with all four schools and used her knowledge to guide both teachers and pupils into the programme and provide help and support where necessary.
Overall the programme has been well received with feedback from teachers including:
“Loved being able to look at the lesson plan before each session to get an idea of what was happening, and then seeing it delivered.”
“It made the idea of delivering particular skills much less daunting.”
“Very valuable in upskilling teachers and enabling them to provide enjoyable and purposeful learning for children.”
“As a teacher I now feel more confident planning and using gymnastic resources with a class that has a range of challenging needs.”
“Invaluable opportunity to see how to break skills down into tiny step that reduces fears around injury.”
“Having such an experienced coach had a huge impact on pupil engagement and added great quality to each lesson. The children were able to see examples, ask questions and learn how to keep movements controlled and safe.”
Schools have also seen an increase in pupils taking up gymnastics activity outside of school in local recreational classes including the classes at the Loch Centre, Tranent on a Thursday afternoon.
As well as running sessions for pupils during curriculum time, a training session for teachers was also held at Haddington Infants School on Wednesday 2nd May. The session was ran by Marion Barclay and Catriona Morton who took teachers through the resource and shared with them the best ways to provide gymnastics opportunities to their pupils. Teachers from across East Lothian attended as well as nursery staff from partnership nurseries in the area.
On the completion of this direct input into schools, plans are now under way to continue the programme into the next academic year, including supporting another four schools and have two training sessions for teachers.
For more information about gymnastics opportunities in East Lothian, please visit the enjoyleisure website.