'Good Sport Day' promotes good sportsmanship, healthy choices for children

Mount Mercy University is hosting the second annual Good Sport Day for students in Arthur Elementary on Friday, September 21, and Erskine Elementary on Friday, September 28. Through this event, elementary students will have the opportunity to learn best practices for conflict resolution as Mount Mercy students will demonstrate good and bad sportsmanship conduct in role playing sessions. The event will also include a presentation of nutritious snack choices and free time to run around and play in the university's gymnasium.

Good Sport Day is a collaborative effort between Mount Mercy students taking dispute resolution class, student athletes, and students in SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise). Mount Mercy Professor of Business Kathryn Coulter said the event started as an opportunity to help children learn ways to resolve conflict and has grown into an opportunity to teach children about overall healthier lifestyle choices.

As childhood obesity rates and cases of bullying become a growing concern around the nation, Coulter said Cedar Rapids teachers have expressed appreciation for the opportunity to address the subjects with students at an early age.

"As our society worsens and we continue to see an increase in fighting, it's really important that children learn skills at a young age to get along with one another and resolve conflict," Coulter said.

Mount Mercy Athletic Director Scot Reisinger said the university's affiliation with NAIA Champions of Character strives to use athletics as a way to teach students life lessons.

"While sportsmanship is important in games and on the playground, it really teaches people to respect their peers in all settings. This is the message that we hope to give the elementary students who come to our programming – the importance of respecting their classmates in all settings," Reisinger said.

Coulter's class will conduct a follow-up visit at each elementary school to evaluate the impact of the event activities and determine if students learned new approaches for healthier lifestyle choices and conflict resolution.

"It's a fun event – Mount Mercy students do a good job, the teachers appreciate the efforts, and we hope to find the event is making a positive impact in the lives of children," Coulter said. 

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