"I am interacting with my son in a way I didn't think was possible."
"My son is now involved in mainstream sport, but still looks forward to On the Ball on Saturdays."
"At first I was scared, now I want to go back and score a goal next week."
Child and Parent feedback - 'On the Ball'
"Outstanding Training" - Richmond Adult Community College
Work is underway to prepare for potential on-going impacts of Covid and the 2022 programme
'On the Ball' is a programme of active learning for parents of children aged between 5-11years living in SW London. Teachers and support staff are welcome to attend. We use sport to help whole families learn about communication and sensory needs through our innovative course, designed and run by Action-attainment with our delivery partner, Brentford FC CST. We run On the Ball at Palewell Park, East Sheen. Until 2019 On the Ball was also held at Marlborough School, Isleworth as an after-school club.
On the Ball starts with a workshop for adults that explains how communication and sensory needs impact learning and inclusion for children. It also identifies strategies - from visual time-tables to sensory breaks - that can be used to support learning and help children join in activities at home and school.
After their first class-room workshop the families who join On the Ball are allocated into groups with 5-6 similar children and enjoy up to 10 weeks of sport together. Parents and children experience the benefits of visual and sensory strategies to support inclusion. Having fun together reduces anxieties. The children experience that sport can be enjoyable. Their parents identify how even a simple strategy, like a visual timetable, can not only help children join a sport programme but can also be used at home in the mornings to identify tasks, lower tension and get children to school on time.
Families joining On the Ball provide information about their children to help Action-attainment create groups of children with similar abilities and an activity programme that aims to be accessible and rewarding. Over the full programme parents receive support and sign-posting from Action-attainment to additional services. Parents also start to share information with the other families.
Our first parent workshop is open to any family, teacher or support worker, wanting to know more about how sensory and communication needs impact children's learning and inclusion. Our final wrap up workshop is designed to explore questions posed by families who have participated in the active learning with their children. This final workshop includes information on anxiety and ways to support children's inclusion.
Families who start out with On the Ball can then try our Summer multi-sport programme, Fun in the Sun. After the introductory sessions many families sign up to become participants in regular weekly sessions run by the same Brentford FC CST coaching staff. Parents join other activities with Action-attainment, from Action Learning (problem solving peer groups) to our Secondary Transition workshops. Families also join Knots Arts, a drama group to build communication skills that runs in East Sheen, explore Marble Hill Adventure Playground and discover other community-based activities.
On the Ball, 2021 was available free of charge to families due to the generous funding from Three Guineas Trust. Action-attainment is a not-for-profit community interest company relying on fundraising and family contributions to maintain our services.
To find out more about On the Ball or enquire about places for 2022