School bowls its way ahead
Image: The Jr. Jack Attack program has helped Lue Public School students develop their coordination, gross motor skills and collaborative play.
For a school with only 14 students, including two with significant disabilities, it can be a challenge to offer different sporting options that cater for all.
Thanks to the Australian Government’s $200 million Sporting Schools program, Principal Caron McDonald says NSW’s Lue Public School has been able to do just that.
“We have been lucky enough to secure Sporting Schools funding for the past few years and have used it to introduce our students to a wide variety of sports,” McDonald says.
“The older students often feel they have to be 'extra gentle' when playing because of the younger students, so sometimes feel they can't really get their teeth into a game.”
She says she heard from another principal about the Jr Jack Attack program and thought she’d try it.
“It's something all the children can participate in, regardless of age or ability - or indeed, disability,” McDonald says.
“This is the first time our students have played lawn bowls and they are enjoying it very much. They have made great progress in the three sessions they've had so far and are improving in accuracy and fair play.”
The Jr. Jack Attack program has helped students develop their coordination, gross motor skills and collaborative play, McDonald says.
“Having a trained coach has certainly sparked their enthusiasm (different to being taught by their regular class teacher),” she says. “[Coach] Alan Clark has the most amazing patience and dedication to promotion of enjoyment of the sport. Students have even asked for the school to buy a set of bowls so they can practice at lunchtime.”
Choosing sporting activities that cross multiple ages and abilities ranging from kindergarten to Grade 6 is the key for McDonald. In the past the school has offered cricket, softball, soccer, touch football, hockey, tennis, and cycling with Olympian coach Toireasa Gallagher.
“Sport and fitness are core to the school’s curriculum. It is vital that students are exposed to as many different opportunities as possible in their formative years. Who knows whether we could have a lawn bowls Australian champion on our hands if they are not given a go to have a taste of the game?” she says.
“The popular sports (touch football, cricket, soccer etc.) are always there but the less obvious sports can spark interest and a renewed sense of enjoyment in sporting activities.”
Sporting Schools is a $200 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a bowls program at your school? Check out all the details on the Bowls Australia page.
Looking for a club in your area? http://www.bowls.com.au/FindAClub