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Kiwi Kids Step Up To Unique After School Activity

Kiwi Kids Step Up To Unique After School Activity Programme

Today’s launch of the innovative new Go Kids! programme is putting activity and fun into out of school care. Given that over 150,000 children participate in after school and holiday care programmes it’s the ideal way to increase kids’ activity – one of our key health goals as a country.

Go Kids! was developed by the National Association of Out of School Care and Recreation (NAOSCAR). Go Kids! was created to assist in providing New Zealand children aged 5-14 years the best possible quality after school care available, and will reach up to 75,000 young New Zealanders. The project is a result of a community partnership between the National Association of OSCAR and Coca-Cola.

Traditionally, after school time was an important part of children’s activity. Given today’s increase in sedentary recreation, the National Association of OSCAR sees the Go Kids! initiative as a major strategy to put activity back into after school time. As well as developing fitness, activity also promotes growth and the development of motor skills.

All Black Joe Rokocoko is getting behind the programme and encouraging kids to get involved. He says, “Being active and having fun are a great way to make sure you look after your body and mind. Joining Go Kids! means you can do this, so get involved, get moving and enjoy yourselves.”

NAOSCAR national co-odinator Sandy Thompson says the programme’s development has been underpinned all the way by a real focus on providing the best possible quality after school care.

“Go Kids! is a programme that kids of all ages and skill levels can get something out of. Homework can often dominate kids’ after school time so Go Kids! is designed to relieve some of that stress and make activity an important part of an out of school programme,” she says.

The recent Children’s Nutrition Survey results show after school activity is undertaken by only 35% of boys aged 5-14 and 43% of girls aged 5-14. In NSW, Australia, after school initiatives are a key strategy in the government’s efforts to address the issue of childhood obesity. In New Zealand, NAOSCAR and Go Kids! will make good progress within this important age group.

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The programme meets key recommendations from Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) by providing children with opportunities for daily physical activity and encouraging a range of movement experiences.

Catherine Clark Senior Policy Advisor Education, SPARC says, “It is critical that children are active every day and programmes such as GoKids! provide children with these opportunities. As the research is telling us, we need to ensure physical activity is a part of daily life to protect the health and well-being of all children.”

Go Kids! has been made possible with the support of Coca-Cola which funds a national co-ordinator and the resource kits that will be sent to 500 out of school groups around New Zealand. Region Corporate Affairs Manager Alison Sykora says the partnership with NAOSCAR is one Coca-Cola is firmly committed to.

“Working with an organisation such as the National Association of OSCAR is part of our long-standing focus on physical activity. As part of this, Coca-Cola is working hard to promote balance along with healthy, active lifestyles. This includes reminding people to make appropriate beverage selections based on their individual needs.”

The Go Kids! activity programme includes five sections; a warm up/cool down, Fun factor including confidence courses and relays, Step with it a walking/running component including scavenger hunts and orienteering trails, Game on which utilises team building and communication skills and Snack attack which provides nutritious snacks.

The National Association of OSCAR is a non-profit organisation and as well as after school care the network also provides before school and holiday programmes. Over 1,000 OSCAR programmes are facilitated in 10 regions around New Zealand. To find your nearest Go Kids! programme email gokids@naoscar.org.nz.

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