LeapStart, India’s Premier Physical Education & Sports program under the umbrella of Fitkids Education and Training Pvt. Ltd. offers a completesports and fitness program for children from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
LeapStart officially started its operations in January 2010 in Bangalore. Currently LeapStart is present in 14 cities, providing quality physical education, to over 80000 kids across the country in almost 100 schools. Looking at the enthusiastic response and growing demand for such a program, LeapStart officially announced its launch in Mumbai today. On the launch, Mr.Dev Roy, Chairman & Managing Founder, Fitkids Education and Training Pvt. Ltd. said, “We are overwhelmed with the response received by LeapStart across India and pleased to know that people have started accepting the significance of sports and physical education right from an early age. We are delighted to announce our operations in Mumbai. The purpose of the program offered by LeapStart is to make physical education and academics on par. We are already associated with almost 100 schools pan India. This year with Mumbai operations we are expecting to touch close to 200 schools all over India.”
The Physical Education & Sports curriculum has been designed in partnership with SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids), a US-based research and public health organization whose sports curriculum is being implemented in over 10,000 schools in 30 countries worldwide. LeapStart is the only program in India that has published over 45 academic papers in support of its assertions. The various sports promoted through the program are Soccer, Tennis, Cricket, Basketball, Swimming, Hockey, Volleyball, Soft Ball, Ultimate Frisbee and Gymnastics, to name a few.
LeapStart is already associated with 6 Schools in Mumbai (JBCN International -Borivali, RBK International School - Mira Bhayandar/ Chembur, NES International- Mulund, MSB Institute – Mazgaon, SM Shetty Institute and DY Patil International School).Given the various infrastructural and other restrictions in Mumbai, Mr. Roy added, “Today, the problem with our urban cities like Mumbai is that kids are denied access to playing spaces in the neighborhood, be it the street outside or the adjacent playground which have been taken over by heavy traffic or tall buildings. And thus, playing has taken a backseat. So we are here with an opportunity, to provide school kids with just the sort of fun-filled activity, which we enjoyed when we were young. Only instead of trying to attempt the impossible and getting kids back on the streets, we go across the schools and take over the physical education process. Realizing these problems the LeapStart program has been designed to fit in anywhere. Our field-tested units can be implemented realistically in a variety of schools, including those with limited space, equipment and supplies.”
Debika Chatterjee, Principal, JBCN International, Borivali who was present during the launch added, “The challenge of achieving academic excellence and being in the forefront has overshadowed the importance of physical education in the syllabus. With an initiative like LeapStart, schools are now realizing the necessity of physical education.”
Roy also added that there is a trend observed these days, of people becoming more aware of the need for children being physically fit especially with the existing lifestyle that revolves around Television, Gaming consoles and computers which has taken priority over playing outdoor due to space constraints or otherwise. “We are happy that the acceptanceof a programlike LeapStart is more these days, given the transformed scenario, especially in urban cities. I am really glad that this is also being realized by our government, given the recent report wherein the sports minister Mr. Ajay Maken proposed to give school going kids marks for their physical fitness. Aiming to ensure better health and promote sports culture among children, the proposal seeks to give weightage to physical fitness in schools all over the country. According to the draft proposal, the top 10% of performers shall be given an additional 3% to the percentage obtained by him/her in academic disciplines. Those between 10-20% will get additional 2.5%, those between 20-30% will get 2%, between 30-40% will get 1.5% and between 40-50% will get additional 1% weightage in their marking, which may be converted into grades as per prevalent norms. I am happy that we are moving towards being a healthier nation.”
Looking at the dire need for physical fitness, at the school level, as well as the complementary transformed behavior of schools and parents towards fitness, specialized and trained physical education programs like LeapStart are here to stay. Such programs will not only help our nation to become healthier but also will serve as an important tool to spot sports talents.