July 2020

GEMS Education students overcome social distancing challenges via free virtual extra-curricular activities and PE sessions

GEMS Education students overcome social distancing challenges

·      21,500 students from 47 GEMS schools have taken advantage of free Active Kids fitness platform to date

·      More than 9,200 students from 41 schools participated in 167 live sports sessions in collaboration with ESM during remote learning period

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: GEMS Education expanded its extra-curricular physical education provision by collaborating with renowned academies and an international sports brand to offer students across its school network a plethora of quality sports and wellness sessions.

To ensure students’ continued access to a range of free fitness classes, sports programmes, personal wellness resources and after-school activities during times of remote learning, GEMS Education teamed up with East Sports Management (ESM) to offer free virtual after-school activities via Microsoft Teams sessions.

The sessions were personalised to suit each student’s fitness level so they could achieve a moderate- to high-intensity workout. The initiative gave 9,216 students across 41 GEMS Education schools the opportunity to earn points and overcome social distancing challenges by virtually competing with their peers.

At the same time, Active Kids, a GEMS Education fitness platform, also united the GEMS community during this difficult time through a variety of fitness experiences, ensuring sports remained inclusive and accessible to all. A total of 21,500 students in Grade 2 and above from 47 GEMS schools have benefited so far, with Active Kids set to continue throughout the summer. The platform also collaborated with Adidas to run a four-week fitness challenge with Lee Ryan, five-time Guinness World Record Holder and captain of the Adidas Runners club. Competing students earned points and got a chance to win Adidas vouchers as prizes.

Naveed Iqbal, Principal and CEO of GEMS Metropole School, Motor City, whose students were among the thousands taking advantage of the free virtual sessions, said: “Being active is an essential part of every young person’s daily life and this is even more important during the time that students are learning remotely. At GEMS Metropole School, we always want to ensure that our students keep their minds active as well as their bodies, which means regular sports challenges, events and raising awareness about healthy wellbeing. Our students have so far exceeded all of our expectations, and these fitness programmes helped them to continue to be healthy and active young people who are ready for the new normal.”

The seven week-long ESM programme recently concluded after experts from 15 renowned academies delivered more than 83 hours of live interactive weekly instructional physical activity video content across five emirates.

 Adrian John, Senior Relationship Manager, ESM, said: “We are delighted by the uptake and enthusiasm of the children and the support from the schools that promoted the initiative. Most importantly, we would like to thank the providers who have all given their time generously to provide a free service during what are incredibly tough circumstances for all of them. It is important for children to remain active and engaged in various developmental activities which supplement their regular learning within the curriculum or simply serve as a release of energy. Their natural instincts are to play and have fun, and with such a wide variety on offer, we hope the programme has given many an opportunity to try out an activity they might not previously have thought of. We are proud to have been involved.”

The ESM after-school activity programme offered interactive content of 12 different sports activities including boxing, basketball, tennis, taekwondo, artistic swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.

Cristy Gunasekera, a Year 5 student at GEMS Wellington Primary School, said: “I’ve been doing the virtual Athletics Squad. I’ve really enjoyed it, as I love running. It’s my favourite sport. It starts off quite easy and then gets harder so I can build up my stamina. Our ESM coach was so motivating, and he encouraged the whole class to keep the energy going throughout.”

Krish Sanjay Joseph, also a Year 5 student at GEMS Wellington Primary School, said: “I was doing three online after-school activities – basketball, taekwondo and boxing. My favourite is basketball, as I’ve learned some new skills and the coach is very motivating. The taekwondo helped me keep my martial arts skills going, as my club has been closed during the pandemic.”

From the start of the remote learning period, Active Kids was accessible for all GEMS students through either the dedicated website or Phoenix Classroom, a GEMS-developed learning management system that has been rolled out across numerous GEMS schools.

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