This time of year, as the days get longer and warmer, I can’t help but get nostalgic and fondly remember the days of watching my sons play lacrosse every spring. I miss the camaraderie of the bleachers with other parents, cheering and exchanging stories, concerns, and accolades about practices, classes, and teenage life. Sports played a vital role in my children’s lives. The skills they learned on and off the field helped them perform better in school and prepared them for the real world. Building confidence, learning commitment, and teamwork are just some of the benefits attributed to kids playing sports.

Physical education or athletics is essential to quality education and should be a factor in your school choice decision. I’m not saying you must choose an elementary school with a pipeline to a division one powerhouse. Instead, ask yourself, does the school mirror the ancient motto mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body? When choosing the right private school for your student, inquiring about programs that educate the whole child in mind, body, and spirit should be on your list of questions to ask private schools.

If your student is new to athletics or has yet to show an interest, sports programs should still be a consideration for school choice. Maybe your student isn’t super sporty but having options to explore is still a benefit. Keep in mind, however, physical activity shouldn’t be a chore for kids. Use this guide to help find age-appropriate activities and learn how to introduce sports into your student’s life, allowing them to foster their own interest and discover their passions. Exposing them to new things provides opportunities for building self-image, encouraging curiosity, and making new friends and memories.

If your young student is already playing competitive sports, then you’ll want to keep their sport of choice in mind when considering new schools. If your student excels at cross country or field hockey, attending a school that only champions football makes little sense. You’ll also want to be careful not to overlook the academic expectations for sport-oriented kids and make this clear to your student. Considering schools that emphasize athletics but also provide a healthy balance of academics and a variety of other extracurricular activities will provide a well-rounded experience for your scholar.

Navigating academics, sports, and social circles can be challenging for any kid. Remember that sports should be fun for kids and, most importantly, provide a sense of community that helps them feel connected to their school and classmates.

Erica Jensen
Executive Director

Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore

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