To-date more than 150 children have had the opportunity to learn to kick, run, jump and all the basics of AFL thanks to the Footy DNA program which is being run across 11 centres throughout south western metropolitan Perth.
The program was implemented to encourage children to be physically active outdoors, said Goodstart’s W.A Business Improvement Manager Donna Di Bartolomeo.
“We all know it is essential that children do lots of physical activity to ensure their health and wellbeing is being looked after and that’s why it was such a great opportunity to partner with the W.A Football Commission, a fellow not-for-profit, to get our children outside and moving, using footballs and developing skills,” she said.
“The difference with this program is that it isn’t being run for profit and is all about inclusion, community development and the positive benefits that physical activity brings to children.
“Centres that run the program always talk about ‘footy day’ being a highlight and we have found a lot of our families that have English as a second language love that their children are getting the opportunity to learn about Australian football and being introduced to their new culture.”
Goodstart Canning Vale Batman Road Centre Director Kenneth Leong said not only did parents love seeing their children so engaged in such a fun and physical activity but the children had a ball as well.
“The best part of this program is how inclusive and accessible it is to all of our children,” he said.
“The children absolutely love it and they go bonkers when the balls are flying and they are kicking and running and jumping to catch them,” he said.
“Having another activity that encourages them to engage in physical activities and get outdoors has been wonderful.”
West Australian Football Commission District Operations Manager Tom Atkinson said the key purpose of the WAFC is to connect communities through football, and the Footy DNA program forms an essential part of that process by introducing Goodstart children to a structured sporting environment at an early age.
“The benefits of engaging in habitual physical activity programs early in a child’s life are well documented, and through our industry leading partnership with Goodstart we can really cement those benefits as part of a program that the kids really enjoy,” he said.
“Watching the children engage through fun, laughter, and elements of free play, all with a footy in their hand of course, is a wonderful reward for our staff who get to see first-hand the positive impact these kinds of programs can have in a child’s development.”