Fat Kids

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 17 – 2nd March 2006

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.   Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

Feedback is welcome.

My PD Updates

ECCPA 2006 – 27, 28 May at Genazzano FCJ College Kew Melbourne.  www.vosa.org

I’m no longer presenting at this conference as I will not be in the country.

As I will be in Europe in April/May, if you have any contacts in the UK who would be interested in hosting a PD in early childhood music and movement, please let me know their contact details and I will contact them direct.  Many thanks.

Education Departments Australia wide are having a crack-down on fat kids.  Or so it seems.  This is not before time.  Recent studies conducted by Queensland University indicate a co-relation between overweight children and ineffective parenting. (Dr Felicity West & Professor Matt Sanders ‘ Lifestyle Triple P – Positive Parenting Program ‘ go to www1.triplep.net for more information) For example, where parents easily give in to demands, especially where junk food is involved, and not encouraging enough physical activity.  My point is not to blame parents.  What I’m suggesting is that as teachers or professionals in the early childhood area, parents look to you for advice and guidance.  If you say nothing, they will assume nothing needs changing. 

When I started my phys ed studies over 20 years ago, I read frightening statistics that 25% of the children of the day failed basic fitness tests.  This involves a strength test (fist clench), a stretch test (hamstring ‘ toe touch), and a cardio-vascular test (3 minute treadmill or stepper, test heartrate before, during and 3 minutes after).  Pretty simple.  Pretty frightening results.  Five years ago that 25% statistic had climbed to 75%.  (refer Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) Today what is happening is that the unfit are more so and the weight increase is quite alarming.  Hence, education departments and community groups are cracking down.  What is really of concern is that most of the parents were totally unaware that their child was considered too fat (ie having a fat:lean muscle ratio that was too high) or that they were unfit.

So what can you do?  Be aware of the problem.  It’s not going away.  It’s getting worse.  The result if not addressed, will be a nation of seriously unhealthy adults.  As teachers you have enough to do.  I’m not wanting you to add more to your day but suggest you make some simple changes to the daily routine.  I wrote in the last newsletter about the importance of healthy eating.  Encourage this.  Educate your parents on this.  Make them aware that party food does not come in the school lunch.  It is occasional food, not part of the daily diet. 

Most importantly, encourage exercise.  How you can help here is to reintroduce the daily fitness routine to your school if this has lapsed.  I was talking a few days ago to Tracy Gott from the Cove Health Club in East Perth (www.covehealthclub.com.au) about child fitness.  She conducted a study at a local primary school in Perth in 2002 on child fitness over a 7 month period.  The children’s results on the initial testing reflected the national average.  After the school initiated a daily fitness program, the children (aged k-7) when tested again at the end of the trial, all showed marked improvement in cardio-vascular fitness particularly, but also in blood pressure, flexibility and muscular endurance.  Tracy recommends this site if you want some ideas for fitness activities ‘ pelinks4u.org.

Exercise should be fun.  In the very early years, team sports are not appropriate so devise your own games.  Use music as this encourages natural movement.  (The Kidz-Fiz-Biz resource is perfect for this as there are lots of dances and action songs).  Finally, be great role models.

Quote of the Week

Allow yourself to trust joy and embrace it.   You will find you dance with everything!               Ralph Waldo Emerson


A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they were on the way to church service, “And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?”
One bright little girl replied, “Because people are sleeping.”


Thank you so much, it was so calming and relaxing.                                                           
Karen Baker, Music Specialist ‘ attended ASME Summer School

I began to look at the development of very little children in handling equipment.  It was great.     Elizabeth Campbell , Music Specialist ‘ attended ASME Summer School

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she has taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time – continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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