Just Play courses have been held on both islands in the past two years and this was an opportunity to see how it was progressing.
This is the first time such a visit has taken place and the response was positive. Discussions were held with the principals, teachers and community volunteers to hear how they felt the programme went, understanding any challenges faced, and the continuation of the programme going forward.
The teachers of Enuamanu School delivered activities during the visit and it was evident that the Just Play programme has been running in Atiu well by the quality of the activities delivered, with the different approaches to sharing the key messages and the positive responses from all the children.
There is also some fantastic work been done in both Vaitau and Araura primary schools on Aitutaki.
These schools completed their initial programmes with Vaitau frequently utilising the resources provided to keep their children physically active.
They also delivered activities throughout the morning during the visit.
Araura Primary incorporated the key messages into their curriculum and recently ran a speech competition on “Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies”, which is an extension to the messages that are being taught in Just Play.
This is one of the ways to get the children to think deeper about those messages.
“The children who got the opportunity to share their speeches with me were very impressive,” says Paiti.
“Not all schools and community groups on both islands have been active so it was a chance to work with them also and see how we can revive their programmes.”
After introducing Weave a Star, the one million stars to end all violence project, last year, the “end violence” campaign was further discussed and posters were put up around the islands to help create community awareness on this important issue.
Replacement balls and pumps were provided to assist the schools and community groups further while also encouraging participation.
Paiti thanks all the principals, teachers, children, communities and coordinators for their participation in the programme and support during the visits.
Just Play is a sport for development programme fully funded by the New Zealand Government, Australian Government, Football Federation of Australia, UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF.
- CIFA Media