September 24, 2019

The roar of the crowd, the cheering of teammates, the clicking of buttons on game controllers. These joyous sounds were heard at Irvine’s first elementary esports tournament on September 18 at Woodbury Elementary School.

For the past year, IPSF has worked with Woodbury Elementary and BrainStorm STEM Education to launch the first esports afterschool program specifically geared toward elementary age students. The tournament was the capstone event to the newly launched program, bringing together students, parents, and community members to cheer on classmates and celebrate the skills they have learned over the course of the program.

“I believe that students have the best chance at success as adults when they find something that interests them, that is engaging, and that they truly enjoy and are passionate about,” explains Alan Battenfield, Principal of Woodbury Elementary School. “This esports program gives students an opportunity to explore an activity they enjoy in an educational setting, and we’ve found that it’s become another way to bring our school community together.”

As an organization that provides enrichment opportunities to students throughout Irvine, IPSF is always trying to keep its finger on the pulse of the latest trends in education in order to give our students the best tools for success, and keep them ahead on the curve. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with schools that are as passionate as we are to make these innovative programs a reality.

Worldwide, esports programs have been gaining momentum as educators are recognizing the sport’s ability to engage students, build school culture, and promote career and college readiness. Many students are already engaged in video game play at home, so this program transforms what is often an isolating activity into a social experience, with many of the same benefits as traditional athletics. The sport also provides opportunities to practice communication, collaboration, and teamwork through play and friendly competition.

What is unique about our afterschool program is the physical education component that is incorporated into the curriculum, which focuses on creating a balanced lifestyle to improve overall health as well as gaming performance through fun fitness activities. The class also explores the STEM aspects of video game development from coding to visual design.

Congratulations to our first esports champions! We are thrilled with the initial success of the program at Woodbury and look forward to making this afterschool program available to more students throughout the district in the future.