Foundation Friday – Inspiring Champions Project makes big impact with local school children

With schools in the UK now shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis this has left many of Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s projects temporarily on hold too.

One project that is on pause until the new school year is Inspiring Champions, supported by IGEN, which is aimed at Year 5 children.  The proactive project helps those children who may need extra support away from the school environment.

Janet Sylvester, project tutor for Leeds Rhinos Foundation, who runs the project said: “The groups we work with do vary, depending on the children’s needs in the different schools across the city, for example we could be working with children who have the potential in years to come being at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET), who are low confidence and self- esteem, who need to become a little more active and healthier eating or perhaps just needing a boost in school.

“The six week project is a mix of both classroom and practical sessions and we are lucky to have the flexibility with the session delivery to ensure that we meet individual need as much as possible, and is delivered from the iconic Emerald Headingley Stadium.”

The subjects that are covered over the six weeks include Teamwork – looking at the importance of working with others through a variety of activities, Healthy Lifestyle, covering the benefits that physical activities has on our emotional and mental well-being, Problem Solving and exploring ways to respect other people’s opinions and possible solutions if these differ from ours, Resilience and identifying what qualities and skills make us resilient and ways they may bounce back from challenges, Ambition and their aspirations for the future and finally Proud 2B Leeds where children identify their role and importance within their school, community and city.

Already Sylvester has seen some big changes in the children she has worked with on the project. She said: “The biggest benefits I have seen is the growth in individual’s confidence and self-belief whether this has been to try new physical activities or feel more confident to contribute to discussion work.

“It has also been good that each week individually they have shared things they have learnt from each session or taken it away and come back the following week to say they had tried something different, maybe made a change with their physical activity or reduced the amount of bags of crisps they may eat. I feel everyone has benefited whether that has been in a big or small way.

“It has been encouraging that there has been some great feedback from the schools which also demonstrates the benefit of attending the project and skills learnt have been transferred back into school.”

Positive Feedback from Schools

“Thank-you for all the great sessions you delivered – the kids had a great time and benefited immensely.” Acting Deputy Headteacher St Bartholomew’s C of E PS

“Yr5 were absolutely buzzing when they arrived back yesterday, couldn’t wait to tell everyone about their brilliant afternoon!  They will be feeding back to the whole school in assembly on Friday.” Headteacher Holy Rosary & St Anne’s Catholic Primary

“Alex has been so positive about the course and has said it runs alongside our school ethos and values, so it has been good for a lot of the Romanian children, as well as the children who are less engaged with school on site. It has been great.” Aspirational Leader Hovingham Primary School

Sylvester says she is disappointed that the project has come to a close, particularly with the children she works with now set to move up to secondary school in the new year.  Speaking to the people who attended the Inspiring Champions projects she said.

“I would like to think that by attending Inspiring Champions you found it was fun, interesting and to learn things in a different way. We looked at ways you we are resilient this will continue to grow during this time.

“You may now be learning things in a slightly different way than your used to but as you found by attending the project it’s good to learn in many ways there are lots of links available for you to access along side the wonderful things schools have provided for you too.  

“We did lots of physical activities that were based in the classroom and you can use this time as a positive, you could show your family either in the house or garden which didn’t need lots of equipment such as: circuits, flip a coin, dice exercise. Even some of the classroom activities such as blindfolded diagrams, heart rates, calories or chair of support. Or try come up with some ideas for activities using some of the skills you learnt.”

For more information on the Inspiring Champions Project email janet.sylvester@leedsrhinosfoundation.org

RESOURCES FOR HOME LEARNING

9.00am – PE with Joe Wicks https://youtu.be/6v-a_dpwhro
10.00am – Maths with Carol Vorderman www.themathsfactor.com
11.00am – English with David Walliams https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/
12.00pm – Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver) https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/category/get-kids-cooking/
1.00pm – Music with Myleene Klass https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQh2wgJ5tOrixYBn6jFXsXQ
1.30pm – Dance with Darcey Bussel https://twitter.com/diversedancemix/status/1241098264373592065
2.00pm – History with Dan Snow (free for 30-days) https://tv.historyhit.com/signup/package
4.00pm – Home Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri) https://www.instagram.com/theocooks

Non-daily events include:
Science with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince & Guests https://cosmicshambles.com/stayathome/upcoming-schedule
9.30am Wednesday 25 March – Geography with Steve Backshall https://twitter.com/SteveBackshall/status/1242058846941712385

For your older kids, here are 50 free revision resources for 11+, GCSEs and A-Levels:
http://www.eparenting.co.uk/education/50_free_revision_resources_for_gcse_a_level_11_plus_and_sats.php