Afterschool programme making sport accessible to all

Getting back to basics is the main philosophy behind an innovative sports programme aimed at young people with disabilities in the Waikato.

That is because the programme’s premise is based on the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) approach where instead of teaching a specific sport, participants are taught basic sport skills such as target, net/wall, striking and territory skills that they can then apply when playing a number of different sports.

What’s particularly great about the programme is that it is easily adaptable to suit the needs and skills of each participant and at the heart of it fosters a child’s innate desire to play without adding a competitive edge.

The programme titled Sport Opportunity After School Programme is being led by Inclusive NZ member Life Unlimited who are proud to be taking over the running of it from Sports Waikato.

Life Unlimited Chief Executive Mark Brown says it just made sense to add the programme to the health and wellbeing programmes they already offered, as it aligned well with the organisation’s desire to promote things that enabled people to live the life that they choose.

“We are all about community participation and creating inclusive communities so it just seems like a natural fit.

“We are also happy that Sports Waikato have been so accommodating during the handover process and are looking forward to well-known sportsman Maioro Barton leading the programme along with Community Support Manager and Black Fern, Honey Hireme.

“In fact, we couldn’t think of two better people to run this programme, given their impressive sporting experience and skillsets.”

Although Honey is looking forward to leading some practical sessions, which will focus on building sport skills related to rugby, she is equally excited about fostering some of the other elements the programme aims to deliver.

Such as; fair play, social skills, confidence, expressing yourself, specific skill development and learning about living an active lifestyle.

“I believe all students should be exposed to sports as it was always a big part of my upbringing and so many positive experiences and learnings have come from being involved with sports.

“It is also pretty cool to see students active no matter what their abilities are, as well as the fact that they are all very caring towards one another and quick to celebrate each other’s successes,” says Honey.

The Sport Opportunity After School Programme is open to young people with disabilities aged between five and 22 years and will kick off at the start of the first school term.

To find out more visit: http://www.lifeunlimited.net.nz/