New Playing Field Holds Physical Benefits For Students

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Minister of Education, Ronald Jones,
plants a tree on the new playing field at
West Terrace Primary with the
assistance of some of the students.
(A. Miller)

West Terrace now has its own playing field where students can practise various sports and compete against each other.

The playing field was officially opened today with much "pride" and "exuberance" shown on the part of the principal, teachers, and students, as well as officials of Government, parents and residents of the community.

In explaining the likely benefits of the field, Principal of the school, Ovid Gibbs, said: "Students who have regular physical education classes increase their self-esteem, social development, weight control, stress management, motor skill development and academic performance."

Mr. Gibbs added: "It aids good health; is a preventive measure against disease; develops and maintains fitness; fosters academic learning; builds self esteem; nurtures cooperation and teamwork… laudable goals that any school would want to achieve and this facility will go a long way in helping us to achieve them."??

The Principal also explained that the school had encountered a number of administrative complexities and logistical difficulties when students had to move to nearby playing areas. And, he stressed they were "realities of the past".

It was, however, pointed out that in spite of this the school had a history of performing very well in both academic and sporting disciplines.?? Mr. Gibbs stated: "The acquisition of this playing field should assist us [in] raising the bar even higher, in our spheres of operation. I anticipate that many benefits will accrue to the adjacent communities, now that this field is available for use. It should forge stronger bonds and greater cooperation between the two entities and this augurs well for school and community."

Meanwhile, Physical Education teacher, Roderick Harmon, in giving some background, said it was about five or six years ago when former principal Arthur Parris hinted that plans were in train to acquire the plot of land for use as a playing area.

He added: "Open spaces like these are very important from the view point that we need to continue to provide opportunities for people to get moving and to stay active."

Mr. Harmon continued: "Research suggests that on average young people need to engage in some form of physical activity for at least 60 to 90 minutes per day, with younger children needing more time to play for optimum development of bones and muscles, [and] heart stimulation, as well as for maintaining flexibility and agility."

It was also explained that the new field would "drastically eliminate the stress of lost time" through travel to playing fields at Melbourne, Haynesville or Desmond Haynes, in Holder’s Hill, for practice sessions or for competition.

"Having access to facilities such as these can only result in greater levels of participation for students, but not just more involvement; [but] greater levels of success. I’m sure that few would disagree, any resources spent on upgrading and enhancing facilities for sports should result in greater levels of success," he stressed.??

In this year’s National Primary School Athletic Championships (NAPSAC), West Terrace Primary School placed second in the girls’ division and third in the boys.?? Last year they were the champions of the Patsy Callender Zone of the NAPSAC Division. The school emerged as champions in the 2010 BICO Football competition.

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