Next July, the World Games will bring athletes and fans from all over the planet to Birmingham for 11 days of competition. In the meantime, students across Alabama will have the opportunity to learn about the games and the cultures of participating countries through an educational initiative proudly sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.
The Live Healthy, Play Global Education Initiative is a digital toolkit compiled by more than 40 educators — led by Birmingham City Schools’ Sherri Huff and Alabama Public Television’s Cindy Kirk — that will allow teachers across the state to implement World Games-related material into their classroom curricula. The program, intended for students K-12, will include “every aspect of education,” says Kathy Boswell, the World Games’ vice president of community engagement — including physical education, STEM, history, culture and civics.
“We are strongly committed to helping programs that support health, wellness and education initiatives,” said Sophie Martin, Director of Corporate Communications and Community Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. “This initiative is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with educators to teach children life-long healthy habits at an early age.”
The initiative includes lessons about some of the Games’ more obscure sports and the cultures that birthed them. For example, through the World Games’ website, teachers will be able to download age-appropriate instructions for playing korfball, a Dutch team sport with similarities to basketball. The initiative’s digital toolkit will also include additional reading materials about the Netherlands’ history and culture. (Other sports receiving a similar treatment are the American game flying disc and the Swedish game floorball.)
Those games were chosen because they have striking similarities to American sports — making them easier for kids to pick up — and because they’re easily adapted to a variety of accessibility levels. The toolkit is also designed to be inclusive of individuals with disabilities — an aspect of the overall games that has been emphasized by the Birmingham-based Lakeshore Foundation. The toolkit includes several “strategies for inclusion” for each sport, which tweak the game slightly depending on students’ capabilities.
The kit also includes a Jeopardy!-style quiz game, prompts for real-world problem-solving exercises, and instructions for multi-classroom collaborative murals, some of which will be displayed at the World Games next summer.
“The way the toolkit has been designed, teachers can go in and actually look and find various activities that can align with their curriculum,” Boswell says. “This is not a guided [program] that tells them what to do. There are a lot of options, and they can go in and select the best activity to support their classroom goals and objectives.”
Educators can learn about Live Healthy, Play Global through workshops across the state this summer, as well as from “educational champions” of the initiative sent out across the state by the World Games.
Boswell says the initiative will provide important context for the games. “Probably the greatest outcome is just finding a way to allow the students to experience an aspect of this historical moment of the games coming to our state,” she says. “We want people to be aware of not just the sports, but what’s behind them.”
The World Games 2022 will take place from July 7-17 in Birmingham. For more information on the Live Healthy, Play Global education initiative, visit twg2022.com/education.
This content was originally published here.