Developing potential into opportunities

We’ve all watched the Commonwealth Games recently, and it may have spurred some of our youngsters into thinking they could be the next Paul Coll, Tom Walsh, Tori Peeters, Kate Heffernan or Julia Ratcliffe. The fantastic thing about kids is that they have endless potential and endless imagination, and it’s our job to connect them with the opportunities that help them grow and develop.

But where do you start?

In a lot of our communities in Eastern Southland we’re isolated, our facilities are limited and we simply don’t always know how to find out what is out there.

The Healthy Active Learning team is working with schools to help them develop exactly that — building those connections with the community that help families know and understand what is available, and helping schools build curriculum pathways that engage the pupils in activities that interest them and spur in them a passion to be active.

The Commonwealth Games are a great example of how exposure to something is often the catalyst to getting involved — how many kids out there had no idea that hammer throwing was even anOlympic sport?

The importance of the school/ whanau relationship is key to growing the desire of our tamariki to be active.

Simple conversations are sometimes all that is needed when it comes to different activities.

There may be two children interested in hammer throwing, so a conversation between those parents and the school could result in carpooling the children to the local athletics club.

Someone inthe local community may have connections to a judo club and be able to get them to come out to the school, which leads to children joining that club.

One way our Healthy Active Learning team is helping schools to engage students in activities that interest them is by using a new two-phase approach to community consultations around health and physical education.

Phase one involves surveying the whanau/staff and students around the health and physical education curriculum.

Phase two involves a community hui to share results with whanau and have discussions around the results from the survey, which can then lead to a localised long-term plan created for the school.

These discussions are proactive and generate conversations between whanau to find out what is out there for their tamariki based on their interests.

You never know, there may be a future New Zealand representative in your whanau.