At B.D. Somani International School, we prepare children for success in a world where change is a daily phenomenon, and future careers are mostly unpredictable. We don’t believe that learning happens only in classrooms. Nor do we believe academic learning is the only education our students need. Our objective with a well-rounded, holistic approach to teaching is to ensure our students grow up into independent, free-thinking, curious individuals. Our students learn not just from books but also from experiences and conversations and field trips and interactions with fellow students, teachers, parents, and the larger community they inhabit.
A large part of conversation and interaction is also physical. At B.D. Somani, we believe everybody needs to be physically active, mobile, fluid and flexible. So we have a robust physical education program. Beginning with Reception and continuing to Grade 12, our physical education program is tightly intertwined with our approach to holistic education. The program allows our students to treat and use their bodies with respect and care and explore a variety of sporting avenues as they grow older.
In the Early Years, children work in our outdoor block building yard every day where, through creative play, they practice spatial awareness and large motor skills including lifting, balancing, jumping, climbing, sliding. Running games are also played on a regular basis.
From Kindergarten to Grade 5, our P.E. program works in sync with our larger objectives of facilitating teamwork and cooperative interaction. A typical P.E. class begins with basic warm-ups, followed by a variety of fun, cooperative games and then skill practice in a sport. Games and activities are carefully chosen to enable students to familiarise themselves with how their bodies work, heighten their spatial awareness and encourage them to work with fellow students. Whether it is a game of tag or a friendly basketball match, the emphasis is always on participation and teamwork and not competition. Students learn the fundamentals of basketball, football, badminton, cricket and kho kho.
There is strong emphasis on physical strength and fitness. Our warm-ups and activities are customised to ensure each student can continually upgrade their physical ability and agility. While the intensity of each warm-up activity increases as students grow older, what doesn’t change is the rigour with which our students participate in these routines. Discussions on nutrition and healthy living ensure responsibility toward personal fitness are built into classes.
In Kindergarten, the games are more around athleticism and motor skills combined with teamwork. You will see our students participate in many relay races at this level. In Grades 4 and 5, our main activities are usually basketball and football games where students apply their individual skills to play together as a team. In Grades 4 and 5, we organise inter-class tournaments for basketball and football. These friendly matches prime our students for transition into Secondary school, where the school begins to participate in inter-school competitions.
All our students participate in an annual Fun and Fitness Day, which allows students to demonstrate their physical capabilities to each other and the parent community.
An important component of our PE program is Capoeira – all students from Grade 1 to 5 have weekly classes in this Brazilian martial arts program which uses dance, creativity, gymnastic movements and stamina. In addition, Kindergarten students have a weekly Yoga class to enhance flexibility and balance.
As students move from Primary to Secondary school, there is continued emphasis on teamwork and interpersonal skills as well as physical fitness levels, mobility and dexterity. However, competition is allied with their physical education and skill development, especially in team sports like cricket, football, basketball, handball and throwball. Skills development has benefits beyond the sporting disciplines as it enhances strategic and tactical thinking. Sports instil discipline, mindfulness and active thinking and helps students translate skills acquired on the playground to other aspects of life too. Our P.E program teaches students the importance of a balanced, healthy diet and how it translates into improved physical and mental performance.
A typical P.E. class in Secondary school involves warm-up and cool-down drills incorporating a combination of Tabata, bodyweight exercises, Yoga and dance, along with games focused on social skills and team building.
One significant difference in the Secondary P.E. program is the introduction to competitive sports. B.D. Somani students participate in inter-school competitions from Grade 8 onwards. Grades 6 and 7 are eased into competitive sport via B.D. Liga, a 2-day inter-school football competition, with schools from across Mumbai competing with teams made of students from Grades 6 and 7. This year, our boys’ team reached the finals of B.D. Liga, narrowly losing in sudden death after a tie-breaker to the team from Aditya Birla World Academy.
Our school teams for cricket, football and basketball have been participating in various inter-school competitions over the past few years with varying degrees of success. Apart from team sports, students from our school have also participated in competitions for sports as diverse as chess, squash, tennis, swimming, fencing, boxing, badminton, skating to name a few.
This year, especially, is turning into a highlight year for the school. Two of our students have qualified for the MSSA Chess Tournament. One of our students finished 6th in the Under-14 category in the DSO Tennis Competition while another finished 5th in the Under-17 category, qualifying for the Division game. We also have a Division qualifier in the Under-19 category who placed 4th in the DSO tournament. Our boys’ football team reached the semi-finals of a tournament. In boxing, two of our students placed 2nd and 3rd in Mumbai. One of our students was also ranked #2 in India in squash at their age-level.
Sports Day sees students participating in various track and field events, to the cheers of the entire school and parent community.
Our P.E. team works hard to help students develop all the physical and mental skills they need to succeed at whichever sport they choose. Students are encouraged to grow into their fittest selves and thrive in the physical activities in which they participate. At B.D. Somani, learning is truly a holistic experience. This philosophy carries forward to our physical education program too where we enrich mind, body and soul for our students.