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Chapter 8 William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

Develop a Successful Intramural Program

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It also makes Jill a dull girl. For this reason, elementary children must be offered the opportunity to participate in physical activities apart from regularly scheduled physical education classes. Intramural sports provide the perfect opportunity. A well-organized intramural program reinforces the skills that have been taught during physical education, builds new skills, and strengthens desirable attitudes such as cooperation among children. Every school, regardless of size, must participate actively in intramural competition. Teachers must become familiar with what a successful program entails. Often, simply pointing out the need for such a program to the principal, who then informs the central administration, is enough to get the program started. The intramural program is a vital link in the schools educational program, for it, too, is an educative process. Through intramural sports, children learn valuable lessons that could never be taught in the classrooms. Team effort, good sportsmanship, and fight-to-the-finish attitudes prepare todays little people for tomorrows ventures. From the dust of ball fields rise future businessmen and businesswomen, civic leaders, and professionals. An intramural program must be tailored to available school equipment and facilities. Occasionally, this severely limits what a school can offer. Keep in mind however, that the programs success is not measured by the shine of the new equipment but rather by the shine in the childrens eyes. Competition between intramural teams can be organized through homeroom teams, teams for each grade level, physical education classes, or through groups based on weight, height, or chronological age. The intramural teams must be as evenly balanced as possible. Varsity players must not participate in the same sport on an intramural level. Instead, use them as helpers. Children who do not posses the ability to participate on the varsity level must not be expected to compete at this level. Use pyramid tournaments, single or double elimination, round robin, ladder, or any other type of tournament for competitive purposes. If these activities cannot be 23

scheduled during the lunch period, or before or after school, then and only then should they be held during the regularly scheduled physical education period. Since many elementary children are bused to and from school each day, the intramural programs can also be scheduled during the regular school day in order to offer these children the opportunity to participate. Not all teachers posses the athletic abilities necessary to lead and conduct an intramural program; however, all teachers must get involved in some way so they can periodically evaluate the programs value and offer positive suggestions for improvement. An interested faculty member might be asked to serve as intramural coordinator or director for the entire school. In larger schools, it may be necessary to have more than one coordinator. Parents must give written consent before their child is allowed to participate in intramural activities. No child is to be excluded from participating because of poor academic achievement. In fact, participating in intramurals could be a motivator for the child not performing well in the classroom. Some intramural activities can be scheduled throughout the school year, while others work better when scheduled in the fall, winter, or springtime. Special bulletins providing the details of the various activities can be distributed to parents. This is an excellent public relations tool, for parents will appreciate the opportunity to see their child compete, regardless of his athletic ability. If certain children are limited in their natural athletic abilities, a solid remedial intramural program must be established immediately in order to satisfy the needs of these children. If the remedial program is not spearheaded by the principal, then elementary teachers must accept the responsibility of organizing the program. An intramural handbook can prove to be a valuable tool for teachers organizing activities. Study the aims, objectives, and goals of various intramural programs. The result will be a better program due to the fact that the coordinator is informed and understands what elements are essential for creating a quality elementary school intramural program. 24

A Thought in Words Education is the apprenticeship of life. Willmott