Typical school sport programs tend to focus on the fastest, fittest and strongest. Some students may thus approach sports sessions with fear of failure and even boredom or disinterest!

Watch Kiran share the incident which sparked the re-design and implementation of the Sports Program at Riverside.


The Empathy Exercise:

As a classroom teacher who is not normally on the sports field, visit some sports sessions that your students participate in. Observe your students in a different environment and see what students are uncomfortable in this scenario and why that might be.

Particularly pay attention to when teams are being picked and put yourself in the shoes of one of the less talented students who is picked at the end!


Sports sessions are not viewed with equal anticipation by all students. We realized that there were multiple reasons for this:

  • Some students were naturally not inclined towards it, and some did not have the physical capacity to perform. For many, sports was just a compulsory games period which they were happy to excuse themselves from!

  • Often due to the relentless focus on the fastest, the fittest and the strongest in the group, sports evoked a fear of failure or trepidation in some students.

  • It was rare to find teachers and students participating in Sports together and thus sports became distanced from everything else that was happening in the classroom.

This led to feeling of ‘us and them’ between those who play well and those who did not.



sports sessions are a fantastic opportunity to build leadership skills and inclusion for all students, as well as teachers?


Regular sports sessions in the morning for building expertise, student led coaching sessions during the day for building leadership and communication, and an inclusive sports day for building community!

This helped bring inclusivity into the narrative. Sports coaches were selected by students from within their grades based not just on their skills but more on their attitude and sportsmanship. Student Coaches got an opportunity to hone their leadership skills which enhanced their well being and helped them to build greater confidence and self esteem.

We saw the students move from an atmosphere of competition to one of collaboration which had a profound impact on the dynamics between the students even in the classroom.

Involvement of teachers in the Sports Program helped them see their students in a new light and develop a new found appreciation for each other, and also helped build a community of enthusiastic sportspeople!



This set of videos makes visible how the Sports Program inspires inclusion and hones leadership skills



In the video above, you’ll find an overview and glimpse of the Inclusive Sports Coaching Process, defined by Sports teacher Kunal and shared by Grade 12 students.

  • 2:26

    a) ‘Tone setting’ by the School Sports Teacher where he establishes relevance and vision of a Sports program along with students.


In this section, Riverside edu-heroes share strategies and insights from their experience of the process and how the process has impacted their practice.

  • 6:22

    FAQ Video Sports Program

    Watch how Niall shares the relevance of a Sports Program that builds leadership skills and also promotes inclusivity

  • 4:07

    Impact Video Sports Program

    Here the Impact of the overall Sports Program is shared by Suja, a homeroom teacher who has been involved in the planning and implementation of the process!

  • 2:05

    Alumni Video

    Watch Manal talk about the impact of the ‘Sports Programme’ on her journey beyond Riverside.


Sports Days are often about competition and a 'winner takes all' mentality. The fastest, the most skilled athletes take center stage and others are relegated to mere 'spectators' or 'cheerleaders' at best.

The Riverside Sports Day is unique in the design that sees a 'champion' in all children - including skills other than sporting prowess with the same importance. Each squad is now made up of myriad talents and skills - design, performances, speech writing, people managers and more. Suddenly a day that is often dreaded by 'non athletes' becomes the most 'looked forward' day for all children.

  • 06:32

    a) Glimpses of the ‘Squads Sports Day’ (Key Stage 3). Sports teacher and students talk about relevance, planning and final event at Riverside.

  • 02:58

    b) Glimpses of the ‘Squads Sports Day’ (Key Stage 2). Here the Sports coach and students talk about the relevance, planning and final event at Riverside.

  • 02:35

    c)Teacher’s Role in Sports Day. This video provides insight into the role of the teacher during the Squads Sports Day in KS3.


In this section, Riverside edu-heroes share strategies and insights from their experience of the process and how the process has impacted their practice.

  • 4:52

    FAQ Video Sports Day

    Watch Niall share the key points to remember, when planning and executing an inclusive Sports Day.


  • Before beginning the Sports Program with your students, it is important to first ensure that all of your teachers are on the same page regarding the purpose and relevance of the inclusive program.

  • Try co-creating the Sports Program with your teachers so that they will buy into the philosophy of the curriculum. This can be done directly after the teachers have gone through the experience of a typical ‘coaching’ session themselves to give them a taste of what sports can be!

  • Teachers should then be encouraged to put forward their ideas of what values they would like to see cultivated in the sports program.

  • Our experience tells us that in sports sessions where students and teachers participate actively, everyone feels like a child again and it builds a bond between the students and teachers.