Independence day

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It takes a lot of courage to walk alone into a room full of about 50 kids, all speaking a language you don’t understand, and to start playing by yourself. There was a free sport day in the local gymnasium on Sunday.  Free sport days are run every two weeks over winter to help keep kids active.  Inside the gym are two huge rooms – one is for ball sports (there was a hockey game and a soccer game on while we were there) and in the other room was every kind of gym activity you can think of (ropes hanging from the ceiling, parallel bars, enormous swings, a trampoline, climbing frames, scooter boards, ramps etc).   A very brave girl walked in there and played for three hours. A few children tried to talk to her but she couldn’t understand them.   Finally after a couple of hours, some girls asked a question in German that she could understand. Woher kommst du? (where are you from?). That was enough to give her a little confidence and to feel part of the group in some small way.   After that she joined in ball games and helped clean up the equipment at the end.   Now she is looking forward to the next event.   Children are really encouraged to be independent here.  There is far less hands-on assistance and supervision than what we are used to.  A room full of kids swinging from the rafters and somersaulting on a trampoline was supervised by only one or two adults.  No wrapping them in cotton wool here!

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