Arsenal Double Club
Double Club is Arsenal’s educational programme and involves teaching literacy (with Arsenal as the main theme) in the classroom before heading outside for a practical session of football coaching.
In Barbados Joe and I give Double Club lessons at Eden Lodge Primary School. Sam and Danny do the same at Milton Lynch Primary School and then the four of us work together at Alma Parris Secondary on Saturday mornings, attended by children from various different schools.
We started using workbooks that if I’m honest would be more suitable in the UK, as they have quite a narrow, British focus. For example, the history ‘lessons’ contain exercises on life in England during World War 2. Fascinating to me, but possibly not to young Bajan children.
I believe the current ones are a lot more interesting for them…with the European Championships coming up, they are about Arsenal’s international players and the different countries taking part in the tournament. Again, not related to Barbados but good for the kids here to learn about.
Also, to tell the truth, I think that the workbooks are more appropriate for secondary school pupils as they are perhaps a little advanced for some of the primary school kids. That’s just my view; they all seem to enjoy the lessons, it’s just that the older ones understandably seem to make more progress through the book.
The incentive of going out to play football for the second half of the lesson usually ensures the work gets done punctually, and the practical sessions outside normally go well. The only issue is that several age groups and abilities are mixed together. At Eden Lodge the girls preferred to split from the boys, which is fine with two coaches present. At the Alma Parris sessions on Saturday morning, the age range goes all the way from 11 to 17. Fortunately this doesn’t seem to be an issue for either the older or younger pupils.