The NZOC’s Education programme hosted a ‘My Virtual Milestone Mission to the Tokyo Olympics’ in the build-up to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games campaign. The health and fitness challenge inspired over 250 schools to get involved in the 2,000km long journey.
The mission aimed to excite and interest students about the Olympic Games, focusing on Tokyo 2020 while challenging them to move, walk or run 25-30km a day, as a collective. Throughout the journey students were encouraged to research famous Japanese milestones such as Hiroshima, Peace Park, Mt Fuji and more, before arriving in Tokyo for the beginning of the Games. Upon reaching each milestone the participants were rewarded for their efforts and received a message from one of the programmes Olympic Ambassadors about their journeys, challenges and experiences to date.
The virtual mission was one of the many curriculum-based resources offered by the NZOC Education programme in the build-up to the Tokyo 2020 Games. Other resources included Olympic stories, Olympic ambassador school visits, social studies, Te Reo Māori, and health and PE resources.
“From a secondary school perspective, the NZOC resources allow students to learn through a variety of means, get a taste of Japanese culture, and explore key Olympic values. As well as more obvious literacy, geography and history skills; empathy and the understanding of resilience can be developed,” says Cindy Gilbert, assistant HOD Humanities at Gisborne Boys’ High School.
The impact and growth of the Olympic Ambassador programme has seen 100 Olympic athlete visits increase to nearly 300 a year in New Zealand schools. With 30 ambassadors now on board the students and Olympians both count themselves lucky to be involved.
NZOC Education Manager Rob Page says, "I think many of our ambassadors have got as much out of the program as the kids have. It's an opportunity for the athletes to give back and offer insight into the challenges and successes of their campaigns.”
Rob believes the inclusivity and diverse range of curriculum-based learning opportunities is one of the many reasons over 3,000 schools now partake in the NZOC Education program.
more than 8,000 teachers are registered to use the free resources.
Andrew Smart, Sherwood Primary School's health and physical education specialist, says, “the NZOC resources provides opportunities for children who don’t normally enjoy physical education or excel at it. There will be opportunities for kids who are good at being a leader and running things, and some kids might be keener on using technology – taking videos, doing a newspaper.”
The importance of offering different learning styles and resources which are Olympic themed but also applicable to the curriculum is important when creating and implementing new courses says Rob. However, each course centres itself around the Olympic values, friendship, excellence and respect.
“Implementing strategies around values is really important and that is why I think our programme aligns perfectly with the education system in Aotearoa.”