Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan today announced that 31 local schools in the Northern Rivers and Clarence Valley had signed up to be a part of Sporting Schools, the biggest change to school sport in over a decade as part of a $100 million Federal Government initiative to keep them fit, healthy and happy.
He said schools in our community could now take part in the participation-focussed programme.
“This is one of the Federal Government’s cornerstone preventative health programmes aimed at improving our children’s health through getting more kids involved in physical activity,” Mr Hogan said.
“Being involved in this new programme will expand sporting opportunities for children before, during and after school hours at Clarence Valley and Northern Rivers primary schools.
“Sporting Schools is designed to deliver sports in line with local schools’ needs and ultimately to get the children in our community active, engaged and having fun through sport, more often.”
A quarter of Australian children are now overweight or obese and many more lack the basic skills like running, catching, throwing and kicking needed in everyday life.
Mr Hogan said three-quarters of Australian kids spend their spare time watching television, yet only one third of children are managing the recommended hour of physical activity a day. Only half of our kids are involved in sport.
“That’s why our new Sporting Schools programme is so important to ensuring current and future generations of Australian kids keep fit, healthy and happy,” he said.
Annually 13,000 deaths in Australia were attributed to physical inactivity and Sporting Schools was a core foundation of the Federal Government’s Play.Sport.Australia strategy to improve participation in organised sport for people of all ages.
The Sporting Schools announcement is also supported by the release of a new online guide offering parents tips on how best to nurture their child’s interest in taking up a sport, as well as maintaining it as they get older.
The Australian Institute of Sport has also developed a new online guide offering tips to parents about how they can nurture their child’s growing interest in sport and convert it into a life-time love of participation. It was launched today in conjunction with the start of Sporting Schools.
Senior consultant at the AIS Dr Juanita Weissensteiner led the development of the online guide for parents.
“Research shows there’s been a definite reduction in the fundamental movement skills and competencies of our children, especially over the past 15 years,” she said.
“Sporting Schools mixes a direct focus on skills with fun, and these are critical tools in addressing the issue. Importantly, it allows primary school children to sample a diversity of sports, which gives them a broader range of skills and a better chance of discovering the sports they most enjoy.
“There is evidence that children who struggle with fundamental skills have a higher tendency to drop out of sport when they reach their teens. Developing fundamental skills early can lead to greater self-belief and enjoyment, creating the potential for a life-long connection with sport and physical activity.”
Schools could still sign up for the Sporting Schools programme at https://www.sportingschools.gov.au, where a link to the online guide for parents is also available.
Five tips to nurture your child’s sporting development
TIP 1: Foster a full range of fundamental movement skills. This includes kicking or hitting a ball, running, jumping, climbing and basic aquatic skills.
TIP 2: Promote play by setting up diverse and stimulating environments at home. Use a variety of areas around the home, like the backyard or even the hallway, to play. Provide a variety of sports equipment. Encourage ambidexterity (use of limbs on both sides of the body).
TIP 3: Foster everyday sport activity at home and be an effective support provider. Limit screen time at home. Provide a positive encouragement for sporting activity and get involved.
TIP 4: Insist on the right sport format and equipment. Sporting Schools provides a great choice of appropriate sport formats for primary school children that are lots of fun. Buy the right sized equipment.
TIP 5: Sample and have fun! Resist the temptation for your child to specialise in one sport too early. Sampling a large range of sports, at least until the age of 15, is likely to assist the development of a full range of sporting skills, coordination and control. It also minimises the risks of overuse injuries and allows kids to work out which sports they like most.