The Port Pirie Regional Gymnastics Academy was the first accredited club in South Australia to officially launch an innovative movement program called LaunchPad on Tuesday, October 2.
As the first launch event in Australia, Youth Participation Coordinator for Gymnastics South Australia Andrew Cordery said the event was to raise awareness of the program and what it involves.
“LaunchPad is basically a gymnastics based movement program with a goal to encourage children to be more active,” Mr Cordery explained.
“It is for all children aged 12 months to 12 years old and helps children develop skills that they will be able to apply to other sports and life.
“Schools are encouraged to collaborate with the Academy in organising after-school programs for their students,” he said.
The first level of LaunchPad called ‘Kindergym’ is for children aged 0- 4 and requires heavy parent involvement.
The next age group, from 5-8 years old, is called ‘GymFun’ and is focussed on learning through games.
The last level for 8-12 year olds is called ‘GymSkills’ and works on more extensive skills.
“Hopefully the LaunchPad brand will automatically be associated with quality gyms like Port Pirie,” Mr Cordery said, “Who have grabbed it and really gone for it with great enthusiasm.”
Port Pirie Regional Gymnastics Academy chairman Reg Dennis said they feel it will positively affect students.
“We believe it will help student’s attendance at school and in their learning after these sessions,” Mr Dennis said.
“Introducing physical activity as part of a learning curriculum helps to stimulate the child’s confidence and concentration.
Mr Dennis said the academy is hoping to receive feedback from participating schools after the program has commenced to see if there has been further student development.
Future program manager and current gymnastics coach Kelly Wauchope said she is looking forward to starting the program. “Gymnastics is the foundation for all sports so this is about creating pathways for the children,” she explained.
“We want to create a love of activity for kids.”