The development of feelings of identity, the sense of belonging to a team, and the growth of social skills are experiences that sport, if properly conducted, is well placed to offer (Siedentop, 1994). Evidence suggests that some characteristics of traditional, multiactivity forms of physical education work against realizing these goals (Locke, 1992). Siedentop’s Sport Education (SE) model is one attempt to overcome this shortcoming by recasting units as seasons and maintaining persisting groups as teams throughout the season. Extended units intended to foster team affiliation while promoting affective and social development are common objectives in physical education. We report on a 16-week SE unit that includes over 70 Year-5 students (9- to 10-year-olds) from one UK school. Our findings show that the opportunity to become affiliated with a team was an attractive feature of the pupils’ physical education experience and that, under the framework of SE, there was an obvious investment made by the Year-5 Forest Gate students in relation to their sense of identity and involvement as members of a persisting group.
Macphail is with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland. Kirk is with Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK. Kinchin is with Research and Graduate School of Education, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, S017 1BJ, UK