Called Aeroschools, the program introduces students to basic aerobics and gymnastic moves and guides them in developing a routine using high energy music. Endorsed by Gymnastics Australia, routines can include push-ups, splits, jumping jacks, and high leg kicks.
St Brigid’s Catholic Primary Coogee began the program in 2015 and in 2016 entered a team in the Gymnastics NSW State Championships where they received gold and bronze medals in the Level 1 section. On 21 July this year, the school will enter two teams into the State Championships being held at Lidcombe.
New to the program in 2017, Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Primary Pagewood has 190 students taking part and they are also shaping up to enter a team in the State Championships.
A major benefit of introducing the program for both schools was they could utilise an Australian Government Sporting Schools Grant to implement it and purchase much-needed sports equipment with no cost to the school or parents. Other drawcards were that the program caters for all ability levels, has excellent supporting resources, and any teacher can implement the program at their school from Kindergarten to Year 12.
St Brigid’s PE teacher and sports coordinator Ry Kato, said another motivating factor was that it was very inclusive catering for both boys and girls of various ability levels –and it has been a huge hit with our children and parents.
St Brigid’s runs the program with the senior grades twice a week at lunchtime with each session involving a fun warm-up game, stretch, skills circuits and routine choreography.
“A very positive vibe radiates from the students who participate,” Mr Kato said. “They engage in fast, fun activities and they learn how to work as a team and encourage and challenge each other to always improve and perform to their best.”
At OLA, each class participates in four 50 minute sessions throughout the term, and 31 students from Years 4 to 6 in the school’s ‘Aero Team’ rehearse at lunchtime once a week.
OLA students’ Millie, Lexi and Holly enjoy that Aeroschools is a fun, dancing type fitness activity that both boys and girls love.
Ethan and Christian say: “We get to exercise to music and it challenges us through the moves we learn, as they work on our strength and fitness.”
Joelle Bailey-Maguire, who runs Aeroschools at both St Brigid’s and Our Lady of the Annunciation, said it has been amazing to see how far the children’s skills have developed over the past year, especially those who at first found it very challenging.
“Apart from the health benefits, there is so much research and evidence to show that increased physical activity throughout the school day greatly assists student’s focus and learning in class,” she said.
“It’s a great way for boys and girls to have fun, challenge themselves, get active and improve fundamental motor skills, strength and flexibility – which in turn helps skill development across many other sports they may already participate in.”