According to the National Institute of Youth and People’s Education (INJEP), nearly 6.6 million sports licenses were issued to children aged 5 to 14 in 2018, or 40% of all licenses in France. More than just a hobby, practicing a physical and sporting activity is a great lever that enables social diversity and equality between girls and boys and the fight against school dropout. Numerous measures have been taken throughout the territory to give everyone access to sport. Highlight these positive initiatives that use physical activity to encourage solidarity and equality between children.
Sports, a lever for girls
“Teaching boys and girls to play well together is a first step to empowering them.” live better in the community†explains POSITIVR Noëllie Agbo, communications and events manager at Play International, an association committed to development and education through sport.
Yet you only have to look at a playground to understand how stereotypes are persistent : usually on the one hand there are the boys who play football and on the other hand the girls who are not invited to the game. And unfortunately, this preconceived notion that girls are less athletic than boys and that certain sports are reserved for them (dance, gymnastics, etc.) goes outside the school walls. “From adolescence, girls and boys no longer play together. A divorce takes place from the age of 12. On the other hand, we see a dropout in girls’ sports practice.
In front of to counter this compartmentalization, there are many systems in France. Objective ? Change the behavior of young people. That is the mission that Play International has given itself. Through its “mixed practices” project, the association encourages young girls to choose the discipline of their choice without worrying about prejudice and thus turn the practice of sport into a moment of relaxation. gender cooperation†
“We have opted for two sports practices (basketball sessions and collective sports) that create the necessary conditions for an egalitarian mixed practice, especially among young people aged 12 to 16. We also organize training sessions so that education professionals take ownership of our tools and use them together with the children.”
These sports sessions allow: overthrow prejudice† “Through sport, we can build bridges between the two gender groups and develop their open-mindedness. Let them practice together so that they can go beyond their received ideas and thus fight gender stereotypes.” explains Noëllie Agbo, before adding: “We use sports and games as a learning tool to tackle social issues and thus convey messages in a fun way.”
Sport, a factor of socio-professional inclusion
But practicing physical activity is also great lever for social diversity† Even now, not all children have access to sports. For example, disadvantaged neighborhoods have fewer licensees and less equipment than the rest of the area. Fostering InclusionSport dans la Ville, an association for integration through physical activity, offers sports programs that allow to work over time on the behavioral development of each child and adolescent.
“Throughout the year, almost 7,000 young people aged 6 to 25 participate in sports sessions on Wednesdays and Saturdays, structured and led by a team of 155 educators from one of the association’s 53 countries”, explains Boris Mosi Da Costa, communications manager at Sport dans la Ville.
The organization works in deprived neighborhoods to encourage physical activity among people who have no access to sport due to lack of motivation or financial resources. Objective ? Create social cohesion† Because that’s sport too, integrating young people from the suburbs on their way to work. So when a young person participates in the Sport dans la Ville program, he benefits from a personal support from the sports field to orientation and professional integration. “In the priority neighborhoods in which Sport dans la Ville operates, sport represents a strong axis of social and territorial cohesion”.
“A meeting place, diversity and sharing, our sports sessions are the spaces where our team of educators values educational values such as respect, dedication, team spirit and relational skills, emotional or behavioral that are essential for their personal and professional development.”
Sport, springboard to academic success
For those who resent study, sport can also be a springboard to success. Indeed, the practice of physical activity and sports can put them back on track as explained to us by Frédéric Paquet, general secretary of the École des XV, an association that fight against school dropout † “Sport is a world that unites body and mind. This allows the two to work together.”
“Sport offers a more open and playful space than a classroom. As a result, some students who need a framework other than a structured lesson may be more open to explanations and instructions. This allows educators to work on strong notions (effort, concentration, self-confidence, self-esteem)† which, if used wisely, can be transferred to the world of school learning.”
Like Sport dans la Ville, the École des XV . offers extracurricular support which aims to provide an education different from that of school classes. This 12-hour week support is divided into three times: a social time where discussion is free, a time for school supervision with homework guidance and a time for the mixed practice of rugby.
“All times are important: before, during and after class. Every moment and every exchange are pretexts for learning. Our counselors therefore take care of these transfers between the different intervention moments.”
If the association has chosen rugby, it is because it believes that in the collective imagination this discipline represents solidarity, a penchant for effort, good values, etc. But team or martial arts can have the same goals, as Frédéric Paquet points out: “The most important thing is the method of teaching and learning that should be as close as possible to learning. Learning is learning to learn† It is learning from others but also from yourself and at the same time knowing how to become.†
Sport can restore young people’s self-confidence and reconcile them with studying. Frédéric Paquet reminds us that sports activities make it possible toimprove self-esteemthe ability to handle emotions and accept the rules of community life.
†We work with the child to help them understand their abilities and motivation to develop the self-determination they need to make decisions, identify risks and set goals throughout their life. Thus, what is taught within the School of XV system may enable the children followed to choose their professional orientation.
So things can happen in the areas of diversity, equality, education, sports. Let’s make it accessible to everyone.
This article is brought to you by the editors of POSITIVR with the support of the EPSA Foundation.