A giant leap to Sporting Schools’ success
Image: IAAF Kids’ Athletics program is a games-based program - they’re still running and jumping, but developing those skills in a different way.
School children across Australia have run, jumped, rolled and thrown their hearts out thanks to Sporting Schools’ IAAF Kids’ Athletics program.
Athletics Australia Sporting Schools Coordinator Tait Forster said he’s “thrilled” with the continuing success of the program.
“We recorded our biggest ever [participation] term in Term 1 and we’re on track to better that again in Term 2 which is a real positive,” he said.
The sport delivered more than 340 programs in Term 1 and have had more than 380 schools request a program for Term 2.
According to the latest Sporting Schools figures, athletics has been the second most-requested sport for primary schools in Term 2.
Forster said the fact that more schools are using Athletics Australia-endorsed coaches has made a huge difference to the quality of the program.
“It’s been an eye-opener for some teachers that you don’t have to go through it [teaching the sport] event by event, that you can teach athletics a different way,” he said.
“It [IAAF Kids’ Athletics] is a games-based program - we’re getting all the kids involved at the same time. They’re still running, jumping, but developing those skills in a different way … you don’t need to line them up to wait for the long jump when you can include jumping in a game another way.”
It has worked well for Maffra Primary School, situated 220 kilometres east of Melbourne, who ran 12 sessions involving their Year 3-6 students, according to teacher Peter Ray.
“It is a fantastic program, I hope to link in with it again next year and beyond,” Ray said. “I cannot speak highly enough about the program.”
Ray said the students loved the program and the teachers raved about coach Denis Huffer’s level of knowledge.
“At the conclusion of the program I was able to link interested students into the Little Athletics program run in Sale (Victoria),” he said.
“I have spoken to Physical Education colleagues that I went to university with. The ones who have not contacted Sporting Schools will be doing so for next term.”
Physical Education Coordinator Fabian Chevalier, from South Australia’s St Thomas More School, had similar success at his school with more students trying out for the school athletics team after completing the program.
“Students have grown in confidence which is evident in their results,” he said. “Students that attended the athletics program have shown more growth than students that didn’t.”
The program helped build fundamental movement skills for children that can be applied in majority of other sports, he said.
“Students have always been involved in the physical education program at St Thomas More. We implement a thematic approach which students seem to love and can transfer their knowledge and skills from one sport to another quickly.”
Sporting Schools is a $200 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school.
Athletics Australia offers flexible primary school and secondary school programs to meet the individual needs of schools. IAAF Kids’ Athletics is for primary school students and Active Aths program is designed for secondary school students in Year 7 and 8. For more information check out the Athletics Australia page.