It’s the last day of the Paralympics, and the end of an amazing summer of sport. Hosting the Paralympics has been of huge significance in this country, for a number of reasons. There’s no doubt that awareness of paralympic athletes and disability in general has risen enormously – in part thanks to the efforts of Channel 4 and its commentary team.
In addition to this, hundreds of thousands of people have attended the paralympic events in their various locations – some of them to experience the brilliant new venues, including the Olympic Stadium – and in doing so have watched some paralympic sports they may never even have heard of until recently, let alone thought about going to see as live events.
As to the effect of all this on our society, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Surely every school and every teacher will see this as an opportunity to explore the whole issue of ability and disability with their children and young people? We’re fascinated to know the opinions of the children, and whether their perceptions have been shifted by these incredible Games. If any teachers are exploring these issues already we’d love to hear about your experiences, and hear about the responses of your students.
We’d also like to hear what schools will be doing this new school year to promote athletics, sport, health and physical fitness in general in order to get the maximum benefit from children’s interest in these Olympic Games. Every teacher and every parent can play a part in this. We’d like the term “physical intelligence” to be used as often as possible in order to promote the idea that taking care of one’s body is at least as important as learning to use our intellects. We can’t stress often enough that the body/mind/spirit system is holistic and that a weakness in a part of the system will have a negative effect on the other parts. Paralympic athletes set a brilliant example of making the best possible use of the body’s physical capabilities, whatever they may be.
The Great British Paraorchestra is on Channel 4 between 5.25 and 6.30 this evening.