The Gulf English School (GES) has joined in the Qatar Active Schools (QAS) government initiative, which aims to promote health and wellness among pupils through being physically active. The programme which has been developed by Aspetar and Aspire Academy, seeks to integrate several minutes of physical activity into each hour that the children are at school. In this way the new scheme is delivered through the school’s lessons and recess periods and now, with more and more pupils joining swimming, basketball and football clubs, some 80 to 140 pupils take part in an activity every day.
The QAS programme started with a handful of schools in Qatar but the Gulf English School is already well underway with its delivery. Faculty Coordinator for Physical Education, Mrs. Rebecca Cruickshank, who provided training to the School’s infant and junior teachers in September, said: “Our teachers have now already instigated workout activities with the pupils, who thoroughly enjoy these short exercise sessions.”
Mrs. Cruickshank believes that this is a very positive initiative and has been pro-active in implementing the programme. “Establishing an exercise habit early on is extremely important in enabling young people to become independent exercisers and develop and maintain a fit and active lifestyle” she said. “This is a great initiative for us to support as it is really beneficial for our pupils’ wellbeing. They gain a health and fitness perspective which helps to improve their sports performance as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Most of all, they are really enjoying it”.
Implementing the QAS programme is just one of the ways in which The Gulf English School promotes a healthy lifestyle amongst its pupils. The School has a sound physical education curriculum, a growing competitive sports programme, and a broad enrichment programme that includes activities such as scuba diving, horse riding, shooting, fencing, knitting, art and even fashion design.
GES is also one of only 6 Doha schools selected to participate in the School Olympics Programme. For this, Primary Boys are taking part in swimming trials and the Primary Girls’ basketball team made it through to the quarter finals, winning their last two games. The Primary Girls’ football team also made it through to the quarter finals with two convincing wins. Preparatory Boys are competing in both basketball and football leagues and Secondary Boys are also entered for basketball.
In other sports, GES also has secondary girls entering a bowling tournament and primary and senior students enjoying horse riding lessons. Year 8 girls are having fencing training and senior girls are trying their hand at netball. Finally, the senior boys shooting group is busy at Lusail Shooting Range and Qatar Shooting Federation. This term GES has also introduced the Qatar Stars League (QSL) whereby schoolchildren take part in ’Wake and Shake’ sessions before school, a new kind of ‘Breakfast Club’ for fitness for Primary and Secondary levels.