SAIIER 2014:Dehashakti School of Physical Education

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A fire-spinning performance with youth
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Auroville Sports Resource Centre
Dehashakti School of Physical Education


We take our inspiration from the lines below, from The Mother's message for the athletics competitions of 1962:

…Replace the ambition to be first by the will to do the best possible.
Replace the desire for success by the yearning for progress.
Replace the eagerness for fame by the aspiration for perfection.
Physical education is meant to bring into the body, consciousness and control, discipline and mastery, all things necessary for a higher and better life.
Keep all that in mind, practise sincerely and you will become a good athlete; this is the first step on the way to be a true man.
(On Education, p.275)

At Dehashakti we try to cater to an integral, methodical, and harmonious development by offering children a weekly schedule that provides for all their fitness needs, nurturing a joyful and balanced growth. Games, athletics, swimming and gymnastics provide for ample variety. This year we had 210 children in the programme.

In physical education, the main concern is not to win or lose but how far an activity or game provides educative experiences for the students.

Our programme

The programme in Dehashakti goes along the contemporary research work done in the field of fitness through cross training. Fitness has five elements: speed, skill, suppleness, stamina, and strength. Cross training means 'crossing all elements of fitness' to acquire a balanced growth. Children get to work variously on each fitness element with exercises that are intense and yet joyful.

Just as we all study various subjects in school for a broader mental development, similarly at Dehashakti diverse physical subjects are offered to develop the child’s body more integrally.

This approach also helps to avoid the imbalances that single-sports participants show in their physical development, which can lead to chronic injury.

In the context of education in Auroville, physical education is as important as the mental and the vital.

Our Groups and their Mottos

During the year activities are planned to prepare children for the Aurolympics. For this students are divided in groups as per their age, and names for each group are given as the group's motto:

  1. Grade 1 is called "Joy". Children here are in their first year at Dehashakti and they follow a program which gradually introduces them to the different skills of the body, through games and other activities.
  2. Grade 2 is “Bliss”. This group group too are still beginners in exploring their own capacities through sports activities and games. Both the Joy and Bliss groups work out together and during the competitions are part of the same teams, such that they support each other in a sort of mix age dynamic.
  3. Grade 3 is the “Beauty” group. They have now passed through their initial years and start in training for more advanced games. Here they begin to meet more challenges and it is important to keep them motivated.
  4. Grade 4 is the “Harmony” group. This is where challenges increase and each child realises their strengths and weaknesses. To help them work on both is the main aim for the teachers.
  5. Grade 5 is the “Force” group. Now the program gets a little different for them. More interaction between the teachers and students happens for planning their program, and training gets more focussed.
  6. Grades 6 and 7 are the “Knowledge” group. Here greater focus is given on all the aspects of the body and its fitness. Games, fitness and athletics are given equal training as they compliment each other. Students and teachers work together to understand the importance of challenging the body further in all sports.
  7. The “Courage” group is for the senior girls, ages 14-17. Their program is shaped together with a broad aim of progressing in all areas of strength, coordination and stamina. Though focus can be sometimes on a specific game or activity for some time, as agreed by the group, the overall approach remains the same.
  8. “Perfection” is the group for the senior boys, ages 14-18. Here is the aim of inspiring them to strive for an integral awareness — i.e. of their mental and vital beings as much as of their physical — while working for a conscious control over their growing bodies.


“We are here to lay the foundation of a new world. All the virtues and skills required to succeed in athletics are exactly those the physical man must have to be fit for receiving and manifesting the new force. I expect that with this knowledge and in this spirit you will enter this athletic competition and go through it successfully.
My blessings are with you.”
The Mother


Activities

All the students at Dehashakti participate in a weekly program that includes team games, skills and fitness exercises, athletics, gymnastics and swimming.

  • Team games
    • Juniors: flag games, King & Fortress, dodgeball, Kho-Kho, Lungadi, circulation ball, burnt softball
    • Seniors: basketball, football, hockey, Kho-Kho, Ultimate Frisbie, softball
  • Athletics
    • Grades 1 and 2: 30m race, push-up position & get up - run 20m race, tennis ball throw, five bounding strides, hopscotch, hop-step jump
    • Grades 3 and 4: 60m race, 600m race, long jump, standing triple jump, overhead heave, cricket ball throw
    • Grades 5 and 6: 100m race, 600m race, long jump, triple jump, shot-put, cricket ball throw
    • Seniors: 100m race, 400m race, 800m race, 1500m race, triple jump, long jump, shot-put, cricket ball throw
  • Gymnastics and fitness
  • Swimming
  • Individual sports: table tennis, badminton, horse club, tennis

Special events

We had a special Gymnastic-Dance performance this year by the children, which was done in mixed aged groups, worked out in a short span of time by students and teachers together - a wonderful show. Such activities encourage in children a sense of aesthetics and perfection of body movements.