Tea Tree Gully keeping kids active through KinderGym
When Tea Tree Gully Gymsports, situated in Adelaide’s north-east, began their KinderGym program back in 1984, they only had a handful of parents enrolled in the program. Parents who were looking for something new and valuable to do with their young child/ren, and thought KinderGym offered exactly that.
Now on the eve of the programs 40th birthday, Tea Tree Gully KinderGym Head Coach, Andrea Browne reflects on why the program has grown in popularity to now boast over 600 members and the importance of teaching children young how to move.
“Originally, we started the program as our gym was not being used during the day. Now, we just love the enthusiasm the children bring into the gym each week,” said Andrea.
KinderGym is one of Australia’s leading fundamental programs for children aged 0-5. Programs are delivered by fully accredited KinderGym coaches who provide a wide range of movement activities that encourage young children to think, create, construct and solve problems with their own bodies.
Jane Harper has been involved with Tea Tree Gully Gymsports’ KinderGym program since its inception. First as a parent herself, than a volunteer, to an accredited Team Leader to be a member of the member services team and knows firsthand how the program supports children develop the basic movement skills needed for life.
“There are multiple benefits for the children to encourage, social skills, motor skills and spatial awareness. Learning safe landings, even learning to crawl in some cases. It’s also a wonderful one-on-one time with their caregiver,” said Jane.
“Parents now days are so busy, it’s something that they can do for one hour with their child, once a week that's just for them both to enjoy.
As they get set to mark the program’s special milestone this week, Andrea and Jane recount one particular story that, still to do this day, holds a special memory to them.
“All of us have special memories of children and families we have worked with over the years. Watching the children grow and gain confidence through their time at KinderGym is very rewarding,” explained Andrea.
“Several years ago, I worked with a young child who attended our KinderGym program. During her first session her Mother explained to me that her daughter had “Selective Mutism.” She would speak to close family members only. It took her a very long time to attempt new skills and was incredibly shy.
“There were often tears, but her Mum recognised the importance of these classes and stuck with it. After several months, this little girl ran up to me at the start of her session and said to me “It was my Birthday on Saturday and I had a party!”
“I asked her if she had a cake and she replied “Yes! It was chocolate!” She then ran off to join the rest of the class while Mum and I were both in tears,” said Andrea with such pride.
KinderGym lessons are planned with children’s age and stage of development in mind. The program benefits children not only physically but also socially, emotionally and cognitively.
It Is about providing children with experiences that positively influence a child’s outlook on physical activity for life that is what the Tea Tree Gully program philosophy is based on according to Jane.
“Movement is crucial for a child’s development. KinderGym allows children to learn new skills, develop their fundamental movement skills and take risks in a safe and fun environment.
“Everything they do in the future will rely on their ability to coordinate their bodies. Movement is a key element in promoting health and fitness.
Since KinderGym inception in South Australia 40 years ago, the program has grown rapidly, with close to 350 clubs running KinderGym programs nationally, teaching fundamental movement to over 35,000 children.
To get your child involved in KinderGym, click here to find your local program.
KinderGym is delivered nationally with the support of the Sport Australia Move it Australia funding program.