Sport stars help primary schools keep kids active during pandemic
Parents in NSW struggling with their children learning from home will welcome a new program to help primary school kids stay active remotely.
Parents in NSW struggling with having their children learning from home will receive a bit of respite this week with the Department of Education launching a new program to assist primary school kids in staying active remotely.
The GetActive@Home initiative was developed in-house in just three weeks by the Department of Education.
It involves and a small but passionate group of volunteer teachers and sports stars to help get kids moving in the comfort of their own home.
Presented as a 20-30 minute online video with two hosts and special guests, the program in line with the NSW curriculum demonstrates safe and fun ways children can complete movement activities, using everyday objects found in the home.
It's also complimented with additional digital resources and even off-line workbook options for families with limited computer access.
There are two categories of videos – one for Kindergarten to Year 2 students and another for Year 3 to Year 6 students.
"What we have been trying to do is just give parents a bit of a break, so they can just put on the program and their kids can follow it," Director of Arts, Sports & Initiatives Rosemary Davis exclusively told Nine.com.au ahead of the program's Wednesday launch.
"It includes a lot of fundamental movement skills. Kids aren't playing sport or training at the moment, so it's a way to improve their throwing, catching, kicking and all those skills, and we have some dance stuff in there as well.
"It'll also give teachers a bit of a break too while also meeting the syllabus outcomes."
The creation of the program was prompted by the coronavirus pandemic which forced all schools during the latter stages of term one to suddenly move to online learning.
"To do physical activity is pretty hard when you're locked up," Ms Davis said.
"When we first came up with the idea, we didn't know how long we'd be in isolation for and whether or not we would be going to level four. If we went to more severe restrictions and people weren't allowed to exercise, we knew we needed to have something ready for that.
"That hasn't been the case, but the program is still very relevant. It just seemed to make sense to undertake something like this.
"In terms of mental health and physical activity, it's so important for kids. They've got so much energy as we know, and this is a way to burn off some of that energy, but do it in a way that will build their fundamental movement skills in a really fun way."
Some of the sports stars featured in the episodes include NRL players Jake and Tom Trbojevic, Olympic kayaker Jessica Fox, Olympic hurdler Sally Pearson, netballer Paige Hadley and former Matildas footballer - and current NSW primary school teacher - Teresa Polias.
"We give them clues through the show and then at the end we reveal who it is," Ms Davis said.
"They give a message for kids to keep active and show them a skill that the children can practice."
Even as schools plan to slowly return students to physical attendance in coming weeks, the Department of Education believe the program is a valuable resource to have and could be continued even after the height of the pandemic.
"We'll have to get the analytics on it, but if it's really popular, it might be something we continue doing," Ms Davis said.
"Having a TV program that schools can just put on and kids can follow.
"It's not bad for some teachers putting it all together. At the moment there's probably been about a dozen people working on it. We had 88 applications from teachers to be a part of the program.
"Most of the teachers involved came in during their holidays to get the program filmed, so everyone has been really generous with their time."
To access the first two episodes tomorrow, as well as other great learning resources with the program, parents and teachers can visit the GetActive@Home website.