In Children Services we work with children between 5 and 12 years old and provide playtime and sports for local kids on our own premises in Walmer Road and onsite in schools across London. We also work with children through our in-house homework clubs and our Magic Mums parenting services.
In all these services, children learn through play and sport about community, teamwork and the great possibilities of life.
Play Service in local schools
All children are welcome. Some of the children in our Play Services, but by no means all, come from fractured backgrounds where opportunities and facilities for play do not exist.
RPT/P3 runs play centres in collaboration with schools to give all children a friendly, structured environment to play in for after school, weekends and holidays. We believe this gives them access to emotional, physical and mental development.
They are typically run by a play manager and three qualified professional workers help the children in structured play, with half the activities adult led and half children led, where they can chose from a menu of activities, which include:
- Spy club
- Ballet/ Dance
- Drama/ Art
- Foreign language
The play area allows children to interact with their peer group as well as with younger and older children, fostering a sense of community and fun.
The play centres also organise trips and outings for the children particularly in the holidays.
Sport services at Walmer Road
All sports take place in the RPT sports hall.
Sport is hardwired into RPT's DNA. It has historically been linked to providing sporting facilities for underprivileged children since the Rugby Clubs were set up in the 19th century. It's a vital part of our ethos.
"Children have the right to take part in play and sports- to have the freedom to choose and express themselves in all activities." Riley Taggart
Apart from the obvious health benefits, sport instils ideas of fair play, teamwork and community. Our sports facilities are for everyone regardless of ability, but for the few with talent we can be the first step in a sporting career. It also helps us to start a relationship with the kids, who know that RPT is there for them throughout the journey of growing up.
We focus in particular on the three great traditional sports: football, rugby and cricket.
RPT has 75 players, including a girls-only squad. Our elite teams participate in tournaments against other squads. We have strong relationships with professional clubs, including Fulham, Tottenham and Brentford FCs, and some of our players have gone on to play professionally.
Homework Club at RPT
A fantastic free service giving support to children with their homework in a calm and encouraging atmosphere, Homework Club caters for roughly 100 children in three sessions per week: one session for Reception and Year 1 and two session for Years 2-6. We cover subjects across the National Curriculum, helped by a wide range of volunteers (about ten per session) of retired teachers, A Level students, University students and others.
The volunteers are assigned as the children arrive, so that the child gets the one most suited to them.
We have created an atmosphere that is halfway between the discipline of school and the informality of home, to help make sure that all children have a nice and quiet atmosphere to work in. The positive attitudes we instil towards homework encourages independent learning.
"They (the children) don't have to come here, and the fact that they continue to come, and bring friends along with them means we are giving them at least a part of what they want." Kirstin Edwards
We always encourage children to bring their homework from school, but if they haven't we will give them something useful and relevant to work on, such as numeracy or literacy skills.
Our Homework Club is closely tied in with our Junior Club, giving all children a great balance between work and play.
Magic Mums Parenting Classes
Alongside Children's Services we run our Magic Mums parenting classes two times per week.
These classes are for mothers, typically ranging from their late twenties to their early forties. The age of their children can be from 3 weeks to school age (5 years old).
The sessions are all about learning parenting skills, but RPT is looking into extending the range to possibly having a link worker to help them with health care and benefits.
The sessions are fluid and dictated by the mums' concerns and questions, so it is not as rigid as a typical course, and some will repeat the 6-8 week course. We have about ten mothers per course. They can bring their younger children who RPT looks after during the session.
As well as Magic Mums, RPT has a baby clothes and equipment service- every conceivable object to do with babies is available here! They are kindly donated by parents whose infants have grown up.
Case Study: Sport
Riley, 8, looks set to follow in the footsteps of Wesley Foderingham from this local community to Fulham FC. He has been talent spotted through RPT's football squad. Coming from a strong working class background and a solid family unit (he is the youngest of five), Riley has proved amazing on the pitch. He is one of two boys going on to Fulham sports academy. Tom, also 8, comes from a more privileged, middle class background, and though a higher achiever academically has proved to be a talented footballer. RPT sport brings together kids from all backgrounds, enabling them to mix with children they might not ordinarily meet. They all get on very well: on a football field it's talent not background that counts.
Case Study: Homework Club
Jim was a boy who consistently skipped homework. One day he was given an ultimatum by his school to hand in a certain piece of homework on time. Possibly told that the volunteers at Homework Club would actually do his homework for him he came in. The volunteer who worked with him spoon fed him his work. Jim was able to hand in his assignment on time for once in his life. He was so pleased with the praise that he got for achieving this he decided to come in every week. The volunteers gradually got him to do more and more of the actual homework himself. He is now a regular at Homework Club and has learnt a positive attitude towards homework that has helped him learn the necessary skills and work habit to complete his homework on time and to a good standard.