Today, I want to tell you all about the motivations that drove Elena and I to develop the Learn Play Grow concept, and why we decided to roll it out across the UK.
We often used to talk about all the ways sport had affected both of our lives, and how it gave us both the opportunity to travel the world doing a job we both loved. We also believed that getting into sport and all that goes with it can have a hugely positive impact on people at many different levels.
Through an early years programme, parents and children can naturally spend time together in a fun, engaging session environment – as well as being great fun, this gives parents and children something they have in common and adds to the natural bonding process. We know that very young children benefit greatly from seeing their parents involved in exercise, too as little ones copy their parents and older role models.
Exercise at any age naturally stimulates and develops children’s bodies and minds in so many ways, positively affecting their development and shaping the adults they will eventually become.
We wanted Learn Play Grow to be a very fun and positive part of young children’s lives, but we also wanted it to be a pathway journey to a chosen sport. That’s because we know that if a child stays with our long-term programme and commits to a sport, it can have a multitude of benefits.
Cancelling out the negatives
These days, children are almost unavoidably exposed to so many negative aspects of life. From relatively innocuous things like spending too much time staring at a screen, all the way through to drugs, dangerous habits and addictions, there are so many pitfalls that kids can fall into. Elena and I really believed that sport could help children to navigate these temptations and become more rounded adults.
We saw that when children committed to a sport, they seemed to be more respectful to others, more disciplined and focused on their sporting goals. This gave them a focus which we believed could effectively counteract and nullify any negative temptations.
Benefits of following the Learn Play Grow pathway
Some of the benefits that Elena and I discussed when we were planning the long term Learn Play Grow pathway included;
- Developing commitment
- Offering structure
- Giving children the opportunity to socialise
- Giving children an opportunity to develop a sporting skill
- Improving self confidence
- Giving kids a sense of pride
- Giving children a sense of belonging to a sporting family
- Offering a positive structured lifestyle, and cancelling out some of the negatives that can send children off the rails.
The long term effects
Both of us were totally committed to working with children through our foundation, and it’s absolutely fantastic to see some of the first kiddies who came to Learn Play Grow as they mature and start making a mark in sport. Children like Lewis Hind, who joined the programme through Learn Play Grow Ipswich, and who is now close to becoming a national standard athlete in his chosen sport.
Learn Play Grow gave Lewis’ parents the opportunity to enter him into a top quality early years programme, and he stayed with us through his early primary school years. Through the time he’s spent with us and because of our long term Learn Play Grow pathway Lewis has come to love sport and found a focus and passion that keeps him healthy in a very positive way.
In my future blogs, I’ll write in more depth about the long term Learn Play Grow pathway, an aspect of our network that I am very passionate about. It’s very much a part of my wife’s legacy and it’s an area that every member of the LPG Head Office team are committed to.