Saturday, September 15, 2012

A New Season of Little Athletics

Just so you all know, as well as being an early childhood teacher I am also vice president of our local little athletics club. On top of that role I was age manager of my son's age group from the time he was in tiny tots (2 years of U/5s) until U/12s. When he went into U/13s last year I was no longer required to manage the group as they joined the 14s, 15s and 17s under the charge of a joint age manager.

So I needed a new job. Well I didn't really. I could have roamed around doing whatever needed to be done at any specific time, but as we already have a few ready to do that on most competition nights.

I did however, realise that there was a gap in what we offer. each year the largest contingent of athletes is in the tiny tots group for anyone under 5 by the end of September. This is the only group for which parents can accompany their child to each event. So it can often mean that there are dozens of children with even more parents/family members present and very few if any knowing what to do.

My idea? I volunteered to become the tiny tot coordinator, which basically means I am responsible to take the 50+ athletes and their accompanying supporters to each event, running the event as smoothly as possible, and keeping them as informed as possible. All the while I'm trying to ensure the children are still having fun.

So now I spend all week with under 5 year olds and at the end of the week I head back home to spend Friday night with another bunch and their (sometimes) demanding parents. Just as well I love doing what I do.

In an aside, this dual role has provided opportunities to connect both worlds. My son won a bronze medal at the Combined High Schools State Championships in the shot put. I took his shot put and the medal in to show my preschoolers. As it turns out, some of them do little athletics as well. So when I showed them how to throw a shot put, using a tennis ball as a substitute, those with prior experience displaying more advanced skills.

It also leads me to encourage parents to consider little athletics for their child as a great way to build their physical and social skills as well as helping to build their sense of identity and belonging. Community and centre lives connecting through me and the children

I should state that my club is not the same one that the children and families from my service would attend.

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