Boro star Stewart Downing visited pupils from Year 5 and 6 at Chandlers Ridge Academy in Nunthorpe this afternoon, promoting the +Sport Move and Learn Project.
The former England international dropped in on the primary school’s introductory session to the programme, with the pupils set to start the EFL Trust affiliated scheme in the new year.
Downing showed off his nimble footwork in a game of dodgeball with the children, before heading to the classroom to take part in a memory-based exercise.
The children and Downing shared some of their favourite foods, TV programme’s and sports with each other, before the Middlesbrough man had to sit in the hot chair and remember some of his new classmates’ top choices.
“The children seemed thrilled to have a top Middlesbrough football player visit their class,” said MFC Foundation’s Sports Participation Coordinator Natalie Guy.
“Chandlers Ridge is a school we have worked with for a very long time, and the children are always impeccably behaved. Stewart was brilliant with the group, engaging in the session and had time for everyone waiting for autographs.
“To see a footballer who the pupils can relate to on a personal level due to his locality is fantastic, and you can see that the time with him had a hugely positive effect.”
The specially designed primary schools programme encourages children to take part in physical activity, while helping them to understand the importance of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.
Over the course of six weeks, children spend time in the classroom learning about the body, nutrition and the importance of exercise, through participating in interactive activities. This is then followed by a session dedicated to playing football, dodgeball or handball, with two weeks spent on each sport.
To date, MFC Foundation has delivered the programme locally in 50 schools, with 5400 children impacted. To build on this success, this year they will be reaching 30 schools and 1800 children.