Teresa takes on important role with Sport Pembrokeshire

As part of our regular series which lets people know about the involvement in local sport of those working for Sport Pembrokeshire we are delighted this week to tell you about the good work undertaken by Teresa Canton in supporting primary school children in sporting activities . . .

Teresa Canton - Sport PembrokeshireCan you tell us about yourself and your involvement with sport?
Sport and physical activity have always played an important role in my life.
From a young age I represented my primary school as captain of the netball team for two years, in secondary school I trained as a Sports Leader in Year 10 delivering sports to primary school children, I also played basketball and was a member of the school hockey team.
Moving into adulthood I trained with Tenby Ladies Football team for a short time and now my main focus is on fitness and keeping myself fit and healthy.
How did you become involved with your role at Sport Pembrokeshire?
I was teaching full time in one of the county’s primary schools, I went on a SKIP Course (Successful Kinaesthetic Instruction for Pre-Schoolers) and could instantly connect with how important physical literacy is for young children. I saw an AYP Post become available, I applied for it and got it. I absolutely love my job and the team at Sport Pembrokeshire are just an amazing group of positive inspirational people to work with, I feel very lucky!
What does the role entail for you personally?
My role entails supporting primary school pupils and staff in the north of the county to develop a range of skills:
Physical Literacy – Mentor teachers and support staff to deliver physical literacy sessions.
Balance Bikes – Teach nursery/ reception and sometimes Year 1 pupils how to ride a balance and pedal bike.
Intervention Groups – Schools identify small groups of pupils to work on self-esteem/confidence/resilience/physical literacy development through sport and physical activity.
Sports Ambassador/Leader training – Train Year 5&6 pupils to promote and deliver physical activities to younger pupils. They also advocate for sport and physical activity on school councils.
Plus much more.
Did I mention I love my job!
I have developed some great relationships with schools over the past three years and it has been even more heart-warming to see pupils progress and develop when I return.  
How the pandemic has made the team adapt?
The pandemic has been tricky for everyone and has forced us to be more creative in the way our service offers support for schools.
I was able to work with a number of schools using ‘Flipgrid’ to which all pupils and staff have access through HWB. Weekly physical challenges were set and pupils recorded themselves completing them, they had great fun. It was a way for us all to stay connected, most importantly keeping active at home.
Staying connected with schools and pupils has been incredibly beneficial, upon returning to face-to-face work in schools I no longer have to rebuild relationships with pupils we just pick up where we left off.
Why it is so important to keep investing in school and community sport for youngsters?
I could write a thesis on this topic but I’ll keep it short and sweet!
There is a plethora of research to show that investment in school and community participation in sport and physical activity can provide both social and economic returns.
Community Sport can provide an array of sporting opportunities for all age groups ensuring a pathway for life, it can also level disadvantage and bring communities together thus helping to develop community cohesion.
For schools, investment in quality up to date equipment and human resources coupled with a greater allocation of time in both curricular and non-curricular activities can support children’s mental and physical health, wellbeing and academic attainment.
What are your hopes for school sport in Pembrokeshire moving forward?
Upon returning to face-to-face learning, it is obvious how some children’s fitness levels and resilience are much lower than they would normally be.
I would like to see daily, allocated sport or physical activity sessions for both primary and secondary pupils to help improve this especially as childhood obesity rates are on the rise.
With the introduction of the new Curriculum for Wales it’s an ideal time to do this.
Have you trained/coached any sporting stars?
I have not trained any sporting stars however, I consider all the pupils I work with on a daily basis as sporting superstars.
Do you have an interesting sporting fact about yourself?
I aspire one day to be able to participate in a Triathlon or run a marathon.
It’s good to have something to aim for!