Since 2015, club gymnastics classes have been offered for children aged 4-8 years and more recently classes for 9-14 year olds have been offered. The CISNOC National Activity Programme (NAP) and all sports funding has enabled Sport Development Officers (SDOs) to conduct “GymSchools” programmes in primary and pre-schools as well as promote involvement in Just Play Village Festivals.
Last month CIGF sponsored two officers to attend a “Gymnastics For All Symposium” in Wellington expanding their knowledge and enabling them to return to Rarotonga and upskill others.
This month, coinciding with a development visit from Oceania Gymnastics Union’s Brooke Kneebush, a GymSchools FreeG programme has been piloted at Tereora College with Year 9 students. Sport Development Officers have been mentored to conduct the six sessions which provide a pathway to Parkour – the International Gymnastics Federation’s newest discipline.
It can be defined as “Freestyle Gymnastics.” Participants can progress at their own pace through a series of progressions leading to cool skills that can be performed just about anywhere, including running up to a wall or tree and doing a vertical “palm spin.”
Off the back of the GymSchools FreeG programme, extra sessions have proven extremely popular with teenagers giving it a go. CIGF are keen to recruit more adult coaches to take FreeG to a new level, with training and mentoring available.
At the other end of the age spectrum, KinderGym classes are being introduced for children aged three years and under to attend along with an adult caregiver. KinderGym offers benefits not only for children who develop physical, social and cognitive skills, but also for parents. It also provides opportunities to foster the child-parent relationship and to build trust and communication.
These activities are in line with CIGF’s strategic priorities, vision and mission. The vision is “Gymnastics – The sport for every BODY – Te tarekareka no te katoatoa” and the mission, “Leading the way to healthy living for our people and encouraging easy movement through gymnastics.”