Te Totara Primary School - Growing and Learning Together

Cross Country

Running is a fantastic sport to be involved in at any age. It brings many rewarding benefits, including the obvious physical, mental and personal development. It teaches children goal setting and helps build perseverance and resilience. Regular physical exercise has also been shown to increase general well-being and reduce anxiety. Our students are currently working on increasing their fitness with circuit training and various fun endurance games and activities where their heart rate is elevated for extended periods of time. Students at all levels of fitness will be catered for, as the focus is on improving fitness and increasing stamina for each individual student - from whatever their current fitness level is. Parents, like teachers and coaches, play a key role in determining the quality of experiences young people have. The importance of parents enabling and supporting their children can’t be underestimated, so please encourage your child to fully participate in all the fitness activities to build up both their mental and physical strength. You can also help at home, just as Eddie the Penguin said (in our recent junior production - relating to walking, biking, scootering, etc), "It can make you fit; have you thought about it?”, so think about choosing one of these options instead of taking the car when you can!

Frequently Asked Questions - Cross Country

Q - Where is the best place to watch my child run?

A - The best place to watch all races from is the raised hill area between Earth/Ra and the school field, where you will be able to see most of the course. This is also where the finish line is located. You are welcome to wander over the course and view racing, but parents are asked to remain behind any roped off area so they don't unintentionally impede any participants.



Q - How is my child being prepared for the event?

A- All classroom teachers are taking their students out regularly for training to get ready for the event. This training has been specifically thought out to raise fitness and endurance levels, thereby providing the students with a feeling of achievement, perseverance, well-being and increased physical fitness. The training includes practice runs around the actual cross country course, as well as other fitness activities. 

Q - How were the courses designed?

A- The courses for each year level were designed around appropriate distances for each age group. We have tried to include as many aspects of cross country running as possible such as grass, firm (concrete/stony) paths, wet areas, dips, obstacles to jump, etc. 

Q - What should my child wear?

A- Students have been encouraged to wear running shoes for training as there are some areas with small stones. Shoes should also be worn for the race. We encourage students to wear clothing in their house colours to school for the day. This clothing should be appropriate to run freely in and it will probably get dirty! 


Q - Why do you write place numbers on students' hands at the finish?
A- While we predominantly promote and encourage students to participate and have fun, our cross country event is a race. As with all curriculum areas, we accept that we have a mixture of students - some who find this type of event personally challenging, and some who wait all year for it because it is something they excel in and enjoy. Place numbers are written on students' hands for two reasons. Firstly, to assist with certificate writing and awarding of house points. Secondly, so that students know where they came. this is important for them personally so that they can relate their placing to how they went the previous year, or to look ahead to the following year. it is not considered by staff as a way of seeing "which student did better than another", and in fact this is actively discouraged by our teachers. The focus is on each individual's performance and their progress against themselves.  

Q - Will there be hay bales again this year?

A- There will be hay bales to climb/jump over on the competition day, so hurdles are being placed on the track for practices so students can experience jumping over an object. The hay bales will be on the course prior to the event for one or two practices. 

Q - What do you feel you get from participating in Cross Country?

A- A few thoughts from Milky Way 17 students.......... 

  • Building endurance, being able to keep going when things get tough/when your body is tired (Jake)
  • Building fitness, overall well being (Emma)
  • Perseverance. learning to keep going when you get tired (Emma)
  • Learning to never give up (Teimania)
  • The opportunity to achieve a goal and have that feeling of accomplishment (Paige)
  • Even if I don't look forward to it, I notice improvements in my running and fitness every year (Lisa)
  • Even when you get sore legs, that means you are making them stronger (Jake)

Sometimes, sports may not be fun for your child. While it's one thing to tell a child, "that's life!", it's more productive to challenge them to find joy through the commitment. There's a sense of accomplishment that comes with perserverance and resilience. It's important that children understand and learn how to stay committed to a situation.

We feel it is important that you talk to your child when they meet a skill, activity or sport that is difficult to master. Resist the urge to "save" them and don't allow them to quit at the first sign of trouble. Instead, use the experience as a way to teach resilience and an opportunity for success. Help them to brainstorm strategies and make an action plan, but allow them to take ownership of the solution.

As parents we all want to see our children succeed, but they need to know that frustrating and painful moments are not the end of something but rather, they are a natural part of the journey toward achievement and success. 


Te Totara Primary School Sports Committee