Olympic gymnasts Becky and Ellie Downie from Hucknall have become the heroes for toddlers in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, when they took time off to inspire the children at the opening of a new playground.
The two sisters, who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and are currently preparing for the Gymnastics British Championships in March, have a tight schedule of training and workouts. However, this did not deter them from giving back to the community by introducing the 280 children who attend the Radcliffe-on-Trent Infant and Nursery School to the joy of outdoor play.
A Shared Passion
Becky, aged 25 said: “We are very passionate about getting youngsters active and moving and we were happy to come down and inspire some little ones. We’ve really enjoyed meeting them.” Apart from the upcoming British championship, Becky and her 17-year-old sister are also competing in the European Championship in April and the World Championship in October. Despite their challenging schedule, they were still able to make time for this event that has had such a positive impact on the lives of these excited youngsters.
The play equipment consisting of log structures are designed to stimulate the children and provide them with healthy exercise and develop their social and cognitive skills. At a cost of £10,000, the new playground equipment is considered a worthy investment for the school and will provide the children with healthy learning and play for many years to come.
A Crucial Facility
The school has expressed their gratitude to the local community for their generosity and efforts in raising the funding needed to build the playground. The joy felt by the youngsters was obvious on their laughing faces as they excitedly embarked on a voyage of discovery into the new playground with the helpful assistance of the two Olympic athletes.
Facilities like this one are crucial to healthy development in early childhood and are becoming increasingly popular in UK schools. Numerous scientific studies have emphasised the importance of playground equipment as part of a child’s development. As a result, there is a conscious effort by government and school bodies to provide these facilities at schools.
Encouraging children to play outdoors and overcome the fun challenges presented by playground equipment, not only promotes healthy physical development, but also promotes learning. Children who start learning through play at an early age perform better academically, socially and display better concentration. It is recommended that children up to the age of 16 should engage in at least one hour of outdoor exercise per day.
Providing these youngsters with the opportunity to better their skills in this manner displays that the school takes their children’s development seriously. This benefits not only the children, but their teachers and parents alike. Healthy, happy children perform better in all aspects of their lives. They sleep better, eat better and are less inclined to act out from boredom or frustration. It’s wonderful to see the school taking this interest and the young athletes who have encouraged the children to appreciate this opportunity deserve praise and recognition.