3 November 2011

A sports program delivered by a volunteer group of pre-service teachers from UQ's School of Human Movement Studies (HMS) provided welcome relief to flood-affected children of Graceville State School in September.

The program provided more than 100 primary school children with access to a free, structured, before-school sport and physical activity program run by eight enthusiastic pre-service Health and Physical Education Teachers.

Program Coordinator, Tegwen Howell, said 50 per cent of children at Graceville State School were from flood-affected, high-stress homes, and were significantly distressed because of the floods.

"Many were severely restricted in their sporting endeavours because local clubs and facilities had closed since the floods, for instance, the community netball courts were used as the post-flood rubbish dump," she said

"The program was aimed at helping the children deal with their stress through sport, as well as helping parents whose effort and finances were invested in re-building their homes thereby restricting the time and money for sport.

"As a result of the program, children were able to start the school day in a much better frame of mind and were going into class more settled, confident and focused; they were also learning new skills and having fun."

William Carey, Acting Principle of Graceville State School, said the program was a resounding success and was well structured, planned and delivered by the UQ volunteer team.

"I wish to commend the volunteer team for their involvement in the program and for the high standard of teaching they demonstrated," he said.

A highlight of the program was a visit from double Olympic gold medallist Kieren Perkins.

"Kieren provided some positive words of encouragement to the children and helpful advice on how staying physically fit can help them deal with adversity of the floods," Mr Carey said.

The program which ran over four weeks, two sessions per week, involved children participating in a variety of fun sports activities including team sports (football, netball, basketball), and multi-skill games.

The UQ volunteer team included Rosanna Bassingthwaighte, Lauren Cuskelly, Ashleigh Duffield, Ashleigh Hales, Emily Howe, Sune Klopper, Jessica Mason and Jaime Smith from the School of Human Movement Studies Health, Sport and Physical Education program.

Media: Caroline Day on 07 3365 6764 or caroline.day@uq.edu.au.