Communication Skills and a New Sport at Virgen del Rosario

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This week at our new school Virgen del Rosario, GirlSportWorks saw success both on and off the court. In some respects, the newness of the program at Rosario makes it easier to see the efficacy of certain aspects of the GSW curriculum. We were thrilled to see marked growth in this group of girls after just a few weeks in our opening routine and in learning a previously unknown sport.

The girls at Virgen del Rosario do the butterfly stretch.

The first dramatic improvements we saw this week came in our opening routine. After completing attendance folders and incentives worksheets, we choose two leaders every class to guide the group through two laps of running and a series of stretches. The leaders decide which stretch we will do next and in which language we will count it out (English, Spanish, or Quechua). One of the popular stretches is the butterfly stretch, or maripositas, during which each girl takes a turn saying three things: her name, what city or country she’s flying to as a butterfly, and one additional thing (such as favorite food, favorite animal, favorite color). This exercise provides the girls the opportunity to better get to know each other, but more importantly, it requires each girl to take a small turn at public speaking.

It provides an opportunity to learn more about each other and practice speaking in front of a group.

At GirlSportWorks, we believe it is an essential skill to be able to communicate effectively. On our first class at Virgen del Rosario, a majority of the girls were too shy to share their responses. Each week since, we have seen the girls respond with more assertiveness and decisiveness. During class this week in particular, we were delighted to hear the girls confidently share their opinions.

The girls divided into pairs to practice dribbling and passing.

Following this successful warm-up, we unzipped two large bags of hockey sticks, balls, and nets. The bewildered and enthused looks on the girls’ faces at the novel equipment was satisfying, and they were all ears as we explained the rules of the new game of floor hockey. As it does with any sport, GirlSportWorks first focuses on teaching technique through drillwork and practice. With floor hockey especially, we have the opportunity to teach patience through a sport that requires lots of delicate handling and control. We emphasized the need for patience and perseverance, and the girls spent the entire class practicing maintaining control of the ball while dribbling and passing. In the end, we were so proud of their persistence, and the whole group is looking forward to putting their hard-earned skills into action next week.

By the end of class they were beginning to develop real technique.

It is exciting to share the progress we have seen in the way of self-confidence and communication in the girls at Virgen del Rosario. We are also incredibly grateful to have a variety of sports equipment so that we can introduce different sports such as floor hockey. It is fantastic to get to expose the girls to a game they’ve never seen before, and even better to watch them begin to excel at it.

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