Some Fit and Healthy Role Models (and they’re kids!)

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

Issue No. 97 – 15th November 2010

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. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome.

New Classes

If you live in Perth, Western Australia, I am starting up Kidz-Fiz-Biz classes in 4th term at Ocean Reef. If you know of any parents of young children in the area, please tell them about these classes and ask them to get in touch with me. I have had so many requests over the years to start them up again that finally I have relented. Renae Bedells will be the teacher-in-charge, although I will get the ball rolling (if you’ll pardon the pun).

PD Update

Singapore – (late) January. Date and venue to be advised soon. Full day training, networking, notes, fun and friendship. If you are outside of Singapore, consider taking a partly tax-deductible break during the holidays and joining in the fun.

Perth – 21/22 January. ASME WA Summer School. Performing Arts Centre, John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School, Mirrabooka.

Mary Mountstephen PD

I have just had an email from Mary about her trip to Australia. It has been postponed to Easter next year. She is still looking for a host school, so if you are able to help and you live in Sydney, please get in touch with me and I’ll pass it on. There’s a chance she will also come to Perth. I will keep you posted on details as they come to hand. This is one PD you will not want to miss!

Employment Opportunity

Looking for a part-time teaching opportunity? Love working with children? Love teaching music and movement? I am looking for people to train to run Kidz-Fiz-Biz classes. I have had 25 years in this industry (23 specifically with children) and want to start up classes again due to ongoing demand. Good income and lots of fun. If this is something of interest to you now or in the future, please contact me at or phone 0410 642 781.

Some Fit and Healthy Role Models (AND they’re kids!)

The weekend of 6/7 November was the date for the Anaconda Pentathlon in Augusta, Western Australia. It received loads of (local) media attention because it is such a gruelling event, with the top teams and individuals taking more than four hours to complete it while the remaining 1600 took anywhere from 4-8 hours. There are three of these events held throughout Australia annually, and the Augusta event is considered the most arduous, making a marathon look like a walk in the park. Despite this, it received little media attention outside the south-west.

Just to compete in this event shows superior fitness but above all, shows dedication to the training involved. Congratulations if you were a participant. These extremely fit people are true role models and make a lie of the constant media barrage about how unfit and overweight we are becoming. While statistically that is undisputed, it is wonderful to see that there is another side to the coin and it’s a shame that more is not made of the local athletes, not just the Olympians and other world champions.

More power to the organisers because despite the gruelling nature of the adult event, they include a very scaled down version for the children. This is open to children aged 4-13 and includes lots of adventure activities requiring other skills besides stamina and fitness. I checked out some of the tasks and it looked like such a lot of fun (more my style than the 4-8 hour adult event), including a very large net with holes in it, suspended about half a metre off the ground. The idea is to get across the net by standing in each of the holes as you cross. Think of the motor planning involved. How many four year-olds could do that?

Then they had to go around a bush track up hill and down dale through a jungle – loads of fun. Apparently there has never been a child entered who didn’t complete the course, so although taxing enough for young children, it is designed to be completed in 25-45 minutes. Surprisingly, 600 children entered this year! Although 4.5km long, the course was designed to have a challenge every five minutes, which relieves the boredom and stress of straight running.

What was even more startling is that the event closed off registrations two months beforehand as it was full. Had the organisers been able to cope with greater numbers, who knows how many would have registered?

But back to the children. Can you imagine 600 children willingly entering such an event? Of course, because it’s fun! Exercise is not the painful chore adults see it as when it is turned into an adventure. Just imagine the creative ways they would have trained for this event? I would imagine climbing trees, beach running rather than the boring running around a school oval, ‘commando’ style crawling, balancing activities and so on. The training would have been as much fun as the event.

Think about this next time you plan any physical activities for the children in your care. Think of ways to combine a story, an adventure, a treasure hunt or whatever seems appropriate and they won’t see it as exercise. Children just want to take part and have fun. If it’s out of the classroom it seems like a break time so they will be even more motivated to participate. And some children are very competitive. Let them, but focus on the ‘have a go’ principle rather than the ‘winning’ aspect. The fittest and fastest on the athletics track may not necessarily fare best on an adventure course so there’s an opportunity for everyone. How about a team event? Mix up your children so you don’t have the least able together in a group suffering a humiliating defeat as they struggle over the finish line long after everyone else has packed up and gone home. Make it fun. Make it an adventure. That way you will have children wanting to continue being physically active into their adult years, thus reversing the trend to obesity.

Quotes of the Week

“Give every audience its money’s worth. You won’t get to play this theatre forever – and there are no re-runs, but potentially plenty of regrets. Leave them wanting more.” ~ Colin Pearce

“That which doesn’t break me, makes me stronger.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“You carry heaven and hell with you.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Youngsters competing at the Anaconda 4.5km Junior Survivor Race (takes 25-45 minutes to complete) and is designed to be fun!


More from Millfield Prep School PD-

“The most useful thing I learned today was the tapping sticks and fingerplays.”

“There were lots of new ideas with apparatus we already have, loved the dancing! It was a really fun day and a fantastic presentation.”

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 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.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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