The Olympics, Paralympics & Legacy
London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics was a great opportunity to highlight sport while supporting our childrens’ understanding of the moral principles in how we live our lives. We wanted to embrace all things Olympic and Paralympic at Greenway; to inspire our children and provide them with ideas for developing their own aspirations.
Here are some of the amazing things we did…and continue to do to make sure that the games leave a legacy…
Even before 2012 arrived, Greenway successfully applied to join the official ‘Get Set’ education programme. Get Set provided exciting information and educational resources for children of all ages, to get them ready for their ‘once in a lifetime’ home games. The children learned about the history of the games; the sports involved; the heroes and heroines; and they explored the Olympic values of Friendship, Excellence and Respect and the Paralympic values of Courage, Determination, Equality and Inspiration. As members of Get Set the school proudly displays our ‘Living the Olympic and Paralympic Values’ plaque.
Berkhamsted Games 2012
Our biggest celebration would be our own mini-Olympics; The Berkhamsted Games 2012, held on 5 July, just 3 days before the official Olympic torch relay passed through our region. All 10 schools in Berkhamsted (the six First Schools, one Primary, two Middle and Year 9 from the Upper School) would come together for a whole day to celebrate everything we had been learning, to take part in fun competitive sport and to prepare for London 2012. Before we got to the day, there was plenty to do to get ready…
Across the whole town, over 450 children entered a competition to find a winning logo. The logo was to be used on the games website (www.berkhamstedgames2012.co.uk) on all advertising material, on the T-shirts worn by all 2,300 children and 500 teachers, helpers and officials, as well as on every medal and trophy awarded on the day.
Greenway children were keen to take part and sent entries from Reception to Year 4. A first round of blind judging was done by a panel of local art and design professionals that included Greenway parent Pamela McMenaminn and Greenway Governor Fiona Duck. All they knew was the year group from which each entry came, so we were thrilled to find that Greenway had three Commended Awards (George Irons Yr`1, Sharla Sebaston Yr1 and Tom Stoker Yr3), two Highly Commended Awards (Jim Collins Yr1 and Elise Telling Yr1) and one Finalist (Lily English Yr2). Lily’s design went, with the other 10 finalists, to a public online vote, and only narrowly missed out on winning! We celebrated with British Olympian, Louise Collins, who came into school to present award certificates and a prize for Lily. Designs for the 11 Finalists, including Lily’s, can still be found on the BG2012 website. Berkhamsted Library also put all 51 award winning designs on public display for a month, and was pleased to feedback some of the lovely comments they had about the amazing artistic talent we have in town!
Representing a Nation
Although the children would compete for medals as individuals, they were all also part of a team, representing a country and competing together to try to win one of 10 Year trophies for their country.
Every year group in every school was allocated a country to learn about and represent at the Opening Ceremony and for events on the day. At Greenway our countries were: Cambodia, Haiti, Switzerland, Canada and Peru. Teachers worked with their classes to develop understanding about their chosen country.
Some classes presented wonderful pre-Games assemblies about the culture and traditions of their country.
On the day itself, children from each class took part in the Opening Ceremony, representing their country and showing a sense of pride in their own, their team and their class’s achievements. Well done Greenway children, you all did all of our countries proud!
Teachers worked with their classes to engage them with the Olympic and Paralympic values. These were a very important part of the London 2012 Get Set initiative and were also very important to us at Greenway.
Each week we focussed on a different one of the 7 Olympic and Paralympic Values, starting with an assembly to talk about what the value means and to begin to explore the sort of behaviours that the children might expect to see in someone with that value. The children found out about Olympic and Paralympic heroes and heroines who displayed the values and developed ideas about how the values could apply in their own lives and help them to reach their own goals.
Each week, each class chose a child who demonstrated the particular value well, so that we built up a gallery of values nominees to be part of our Olympic Values display. You can find definitions and examples for each value here.
Every school was asked to think about imaginative ways to help raise money to fund our mini Olympics.
One Greenway Mum, Jo English (pictured), had the idea of designing and ordering silicone wristbands celebrating the values, to buy. Soon these were the 2012 ‘must have’ accessories for Berkhamsted!
A different colour was chosen for each value; the wristbands had ‘Berkhamsted Games 2012’ on one side and one of the seven values on the other side. The wristbands were a huge success with children, parents and teachers alike. Children and teachers were even allowed to wear the bands at school; they really helped to reinforce values-learning and were a lot of fun too!
Golden Legacy Wristbands
To support the values work being done in every school and to build on our silicone wristbands fundraiser, the Berkhamsted Games 2012 Committee ordered 11 sets of very special, golden coloured, values wristbands.
One set of the golden wristbands was given to each of the 10 participating schools. At Greenway, we used ours to recognise children who were displaying the values day-in and day-out. Today we continue our ‘meeting the values’ initiative, with children still able to win the chance of appearing on a Role of Values Honours display.
One final set of Golden Legacy Wristbands was awarded on the day of the mini Olympics. Each school had been asked to nominate seven children, one for each value. From the 70 nominations, a panel from our leading sponsor, Waitrose, chose just one child to win each of the seven wristbands.
The presentations were a lovely celebration of all the nominations and all the values work that had been done in school, but we were delighted when it was announced that Greenway’s own Ibraheem Khalid (Yr2) was a winner. Congratulations to Ibraheem (pictured with British Olympian and Greenway Mum, Louise Collins) who won the Berkhamsted Games 2012 Golden Legacy Wristband for Courage! You can find his nomination (and those for all the winners) on the games website.
Headteachers’ Torch Relay
In true Olympic style, the day before our games, all 10 participating schools took part in a torch relay. This was a very exciting occasion for us all, coming just three days before the official Olympic torch relay would come through our part of Hertfordshire. For our games, the relay was started at Potten End First School by Ella Beaumont – one of two official torch bearers from Berkhamsted, a member of the British junior wheelchair basketball team and ex-pupil of Thomas More RC Primary School. The replica torch made its way through all ten schools with the Headteachers and many children running the distances between and finishing at Bridgewater Middle school as part of the Opening Ceremony.
Each school chose a different way to celebrate the torch. At Greenway, our Headteacher Mrs Weston was joined by members of the School Council and by Berkhamsted’s other official torchbearer, charity fundraiser and ex-Greenway pupil Richard Walsh (pictured).
Before setting off on their run to Westfield First School, the torch was passed from child to child around the playground, giving everyone the chance to hold our special games torch.
5 July 2012 – Going for Gold!
The big day arrived and after weeks of rain, we all woke to sunshine. The first thing was to get all 2,300 children to Bridgewater school where the games would take place. Greenway children walked, laughing and singing all the way!
The games themselves started, of course, with an Opening Ceremony! Everyone cheered as around 500 children, representing at total of 46 nations, paraded in their costumes around the track.
Next it was time for the children – all 2,300 of them – to sing Hertfordshire’s own Olympic song, ‘The Winner’s Dream’. The school and inter-school practices in the weeks before, led by our own Mrs O’Brien, before paid off and they sang beautifully!
The Headteachers and Ella Beaumont arrived next. Mrs Swaffield (Headteacher from the host school, Bridgewater) carried the torch and lit the games cauldron.
The children and all our spectators sang the National Anthem – thanks again to Mrs O’Brien – as balloon doves were released, before three British Olympians announced that the Berkhamsted Games 2012 were to begin!
And begin they did…with a mass warm up for everyone – you’ll see that Greenway (wearing dark green) were right at the front and had mastered all the moves!
Over the course of the day, Greenway children put all their pre-games practices to best use, jumping, running, throwing and tugging as hard as they could, winning medals, points and thousands of cheers from their teammates and from over 1,000 spectators. Our Year 3 classes, representing Cambodia, even managed top team spot and were awarded one of the coveted BG2012 Year Trophies.
The day came to an end with more singing – this time the Jubilee song ‘Sing’ – and a balloon race dedicated to the games’ chosen charity, The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted.
Thanks to the generosity and efforts of all those parents, carers, teachers, and businesses who supported the games, the Hospice received an amazing £13,500 donation from the Berkhamsted Games Fund.
After the Berkhamsted Games – special thanks to Greenway parents!
Every child took away a goodie bag with treats and reminders of their mini- Olympic day, and this was coordinated for all 2,300 children by yet another Greenway parent, Sarah Whale.
Greenway parents were also entirely responsible for the production of a special games DVD that went to every child in every school after the event. Led by Alice Giles, our parents managed to field top notch film-making professionals including a Producer/Director/Editor, Production Manager, Sound Editor, Camera-men and even a score-writer for all the music. The result is a fantastic reminder for all of our wonderful day!
After all that, our children were certainly ready for the fabulous summer of sport that came with the ‘proper’ Olympics and Paralympics in August and September 2012. Many got to see events live and even those who didn’t experience it first hand, were excited TV viewers!
Before the summer break, our children had already taken part in a craft experience, to make a giant felt Olympic banner for Greenway. Working with felt was a new skill for everyone and it was great fun to watch the banner emerge.
After the summer break our children returned full of Olympic and Paralympic news which we put to good use! Many recorded their favourite memories on tags; we had so many, particularly after we asked visiting parents to join in, that we ended up with two memories trees! They also found their favourite pictures and quotes
Year 3 also put on display their journalistic talents, turning their memories into newspaper articles.
A Lasting Legacy
Greenway is very proud of all that our children achieved and learned through our Olympic and Paralympic experience. We are also proud of the part that we (and many of our Greenway parents) played in The Berkhamsted Games 2012 – one of the community’s biggest and best ever celebrations!
You can still view the Games website at berkhamstedgames2012.co.uk.
However, what we are particularly proud of is the part that we played in meeting Lord Coe’s plea to ‘inspire a generation’! Through teaching, support and through their own hard work, our children learned a lot about the joy of competitive sport and being part of a team. They also learned the most important lessons about the sorts of values, skills and attributes that will help them to live happy and fulfilled lives.