Kids Movement

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

It might look like play but what these littlies are learning is much more than just fun and games.

Running, skipping, throwing, rolling - things you'd expect to come naturally, to a child.

"It is really important for children to master these skills" A biomechanist from Edith Cowen University Dr Jodie Wilkie says many children are unable to make basic moves with their body.

"Current research is showing us children aren't reaching the fundamental movement skills by the age of 7 which we would expect"

Today at Kindergym these four and five year olds are - twisting, throwing, stretching and stopping. They're all activities known as Fundamental Movement Skills.

Skipping is just one of more than twenty of the basic building blocks of movement that all children should be able to do.

"All children develop at different levels but they have the developmental potential to reach them by the age of six or 7" but some studies show as many as 60% of kids don't master these movements.

Dr Jodie Wilkie says "only 40% of children have mastered Fundamental Movement Skills and this research has been done with children up to the age of 14"

Leading gymnastic identity Liz Chetkovich has been behind some of our most successful athletes including Lauren Mitchell, but she's concerned many youngsters are lagging behind. "I think we're seeing children generally they're not as lean as they used to be and i would say there are fewer agile children skipping through the door and picking up those skills easily"

Now, clubs across the country, like this one, are trying to train the basics with a brand new program.

Liz Chetkovich says "the launch pad is actually what we call the nursery of Australian sport; it's where every child should start their sporting experience"

Rhythmic gymnast and London Olympian Janine Marray has mastered moves that could even give AFL footy players an edge. "I obviously started gymnastics when I was six and I think the foundations i got from that I've been able to implement into all different sports i played basketball at school, i did athletics"

And some of our biggest sports stars used gymnastics as their launch pad- Steve Hooker, Sally Pearson and Alisa Camplin have all done gymnastics, a sport which teaches all of the major movements.

Jodie says "there has been research which is showing if children aren't reaching these skills then later on in adolescence they're not participating in sport as much, and this can have detrimental effects in terms of health and weight levels" With a recent national report revealing 20% of kids are overweight or obese by the time they start kindy experts are asking what's going on?

"We really need research to tell us why? We know children aren't reaching fundamental movement skills but we don't know why this is so"

Liz Chetkovich says "I really do think parents are so concerned about their children's safety, they're overprotecting them and we see that in schools as well" For now, these sports specialists are urging all parents to encouraging good old fashioned child's play it's more than fun it's fundamental. "If you can get these fundamental movement patterns operating, basically as soon as they can walk it's going to give them a much better chance to have physical outcomes in the future"

Further Details

The Chetkovich Cup

Pre-entertainment 6.30pm

Competition starts 7pm

Challenge Stadium

Stephenson Ave,

Mount Claremont

Tickets available at the door.

Or contact Gymnastics WA - 9228 9399

Or www.ticketmaster.com.au

LaunchPad

www.launch-pad.org.au

Gymnastics WA

www.gymnasticswa.asn.au

Northern Districts Gymnastic Club

9240 6861

Spirit Gym Sports

9387 4127

Southern Stars Trampoline Academy

0447 134 042