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April 28, 2021 | Clara Buckley

This week we explored a different part of the park, the courts. We brought out balls and the courts, with their high fences, seemed the perfect place to play.

The challenge was to only use our feet, not our hands, to play with the balls.

For some children this is their first experience of soccer. 

For others, they have practiced dribbling, kicking, stopping, and shooting skills.

I asked Mr. Licato, Mustard Seed School’s physical education teacher, for his view.

Soccer is such an important sport in many countries and a fabric of many cultures. Allowing the students to experience the sport at an early age will allow them to gain confidence and enthusiasm of playing sports. There’s nothing like the thrill of scoring a goal! This beginners’ experience in soccer helps students step outside of their comfort zone in a safe and inclusive environment.

What skills are good for us to practice?

Dribbling: In soccer this refers to being able to move the ball with your feet while maintaining control. The technique involves gentle, close contact between students feet and the ball.

Shooting: Being able to develop the connection between our mind and our muscle groups. “I want to kick the ball towards the goal… how can I make my body accomplish this task?”

Sportsmanship: We need to work together to accomplish difficult tasks. For some students this may be an easier task than others. Playing sports allows us to work together to build friendships and trust that we are all together!

Mr. Licato, is there anything that Rivers Class families can do to support their young soccer players?

It’s always important for children to be active. Some children are quicker to be attracted to sports. But physical education isn’t just about sports. It’s about creating an atmosphere of physical expression, testing boundaries and allowing for varying differences in skill levels.

If the sport as a whole is not entertaining to the child, that’s okay. The important thing at a young age is to keep them physically active. If they just like kicking… allow them to develop that skill.

 If they like using their hands… play catch with them. The exposure to different body movements in varying sports and activities help create a foundation for developing different skills.

All sports are intertwined in some way. The exposure to different body movements in varying sports and activities help create a foundation for developing different skills. We want to create an environment where we are focusing on gross motor skills.

After this past year, the children have been inside more than usual with not as many opportunities to develop their gross motor skills. We’re excited to move our bodies, run, and kick!

Clara Buckley

Teacher, Rivers Class; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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