Up to 30 children have attended the half-day programme each morning, instructed by Cook Islands Gymnastics Federation coaches and mentored by Gymnastics Australia’s Oceania development manager Brooke Kneebush.
A highlight of the programme is the opportunity to use a new inflatable tumbling strip funded through the Cook Islands Ministry of Health grant that made this week-long event possible.
The air-filled mat enables the gymnasts to run and tumble seamlessly, without interrupting skills, or risking tripping over.
“It will certainly lead to improved skills and increased safety,” said Kneebush.
Other highlights include the opportunity to participate in intensive training and reinforce skills day after day, meeting new friends, and plenty of fun and games. Major aims of the programme are to promote the benefits of physical activity, the importance of drinking water for hydration, and appreciating the value of fruit and vegetables as ‘fast foods’ for a meal or snack.
To reinforce these take-home health messages, games have incorporated the concept of making healthy food choices, morning tea refreshments have included an array of health foods such as locally sourced fruit, and art and craft activities have included creating a rainbow of colourful healthy foods, a beaded bracelet of favourite healthy foods, and a paper-art fruit bowl.