Sports thrills for tiny tots

SHEER DETERMINATION: Kurtley Douglas, 3, of Jongaingomso Daycare, and other pupils in action during the tyre race

Pre-school youngsters compete against each other under the Changing Lives programme

Excitement and thrills filled the Ray Mhlaba Indoor Sports Centre last week as the Changing Lives development programme gave 18 pre-schools from the Motherwell and Kwazakhele townships a sporting boost.

The development programme entered its third year with about 300 children from pre-schools participating in track and field events, as well as fun bean bag races and rolling tyre exercises.

The competitiveness was rife among the two- to four-year-olds, who had been preparing for the programme all year.

“We often face the daunting challenge of trying to force our children into sporting activities at a later stage when they are rebellious and are already exposed to crime and drugs,” programme organiser Mzwandile Futha said.

“Starting sport at the foundation phase has helped teachers to identify individuals who are good enough to be honed and developed from an early age.”

Parents and teachers helped by explaining the different activities to the children.

Kwazakhele teacher Khunjulwa Mxinwa said: “Socialising is very important for the children because they learn much faster when they do things in a fun and sporting environment.

“Sport teaches children good hand and eye coordination as well as working together in teams.”

With no funding at their disposal, teachers have been working together to raise funds to pay for sporting venues and proper nutrition for the children.

Komsos day centre coach, Nomsa Tom, said: “We would like to see this development forum grow and bring change to the academic crisis in township schools.

“Since the programme’s establishment in 2015, we have seen a lot of improvement in learning and discipline among our children.

“Starting the programme at an early age sets a good foundation for children who want to get into sport in primary school.”

The Changing Lives programme will be hosting a career day at which schools from the Motherwell and Kwazakhele areas will be invited to participate in a two-day project in July.

The programme will also look to expand to other townships in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro to raise awareness of pre-school sports events.

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