Sports may be a fun way for kids to get active, but athletic programs can also positively impact student development.
"We've seen firsthand how athletics develop our students' leadership and character capabilities," says Eric Denton, headmaster at St. John’s Christian Academy, a private K3-12 school in Moncks Corner, S.C. "They also encourage good sportsmanship and develop physical skills that serve students for years to come.”
St. John’s Christian Academy offers varsity, junior varsity and B-teams that are part of the South Carolina Independent School Association athletic program. Some of the sports offered include football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and cross country.
"Our athletic program – from athletes and coaches to student fans – has forged an unmatched sense of community at our school," Denton adds.
Denton finds that there are even more perks for students who play sports in school.
Students who play sports learn to conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike way that is representative of their school and its values (including religious values, in the case of St. John’s). When students are in competitive situations, emotions can get the best of them and they may wind up acting out. Reminding students to be mindful of how their reactions reflect on the individual student, team and school helps foster appropriate behavior even in the most intense situations, Denton says.
2. Academic performance
Participating in sports also improves academic performance for students at the school. St. John’s Christian Academy makes it a point to keep a close eye on a student’s grades before they are accepted on a team and while they are playing. Coaches communicate with teachers and administrators to make sure that education comes first, and these conversations help motivate students to devote the time needed to balance and excel in their roles as both students and athletes.
"The athletic field or court is an extension of the classroom and provides extensive learning opportunities," Denton says. "Athletics intensify life and offer challenges that encourage personal, intellectual and character growth."
3. Community ties
Whether students at Denton’s school participate in basketball, cheerleading or another athletic program at the school, they also benefit from the support of the booster club. This has helped them improve ties with parents and other supportive adults while striving to be better athletes overall, Denton adds.
4. Positive role models
Not only does playing with other students help individuals learn how to collaborate well together; it also forges a positive relationship between students and adults. While coaches may be teachers by day, the students get to see another side of that coach during games and practices.
During athletic practices and games, the coach is able to dedicate individualized time with each team member and act as a positive role model. This relationship can teach a student how to relate to adults and those in authoritative role, which builds their capacity to respect others and forge healthy relationships.
Whether your child plays sports or not, parents looking for a great K3-12 school will find a great educational experience at St. John's Christian Academy, located in Moncks Corner. The school offers top-notch academics and a service-oriented Christian curriculum. To learn more, visit SJCacavaliers.com or call 843-761-8539.