Preschool children to get moving like Mariners

Children from Central Coast preschools are preparing to get moving like Mariners as part of an initiative to get kids active.

The Move like a Mariner program, which teaches fundamental movement skills to children aged three to five years old, will return in early childhood education and care services across the Coast from July.

The six-week program sees educators provided with resources and take part in an interactive workshop to increase their confidence to teach these crucial developmental skills in fun and engaging ways.

Move like a Mariner is a joint initiative between the Central Coast Mariners and Central Coast Local Health District’s Health Promotion Service.

More than 3,300 children from 53 Central Coast early childhood services took part in the program last year.

In addition to teaching children how to move like their favourite Mariner, they also learn about healthy snacking and the importance of drinking water.

Services that take part receive an equipment kit and go in a draw to win a visit from two Mariners players or the top prize of a visit from the entire team. This year, participating children will also receive a Mariners matchday experience.

The Kindiclub Preschool participated last year and were the lucky recipients of the team visit. Speaking after the visit, its director, Irena Petrikova, said it had created a lifetime of memories for the children.

“We’re so grateful to Central Coast Health and the Central Coast Mariners for organising this visit. There were so many smiles on the children’s faces – it has created a lifetime of memories for them.

“The Move like a Mariner program has been so easy to implement, and the children and their families have really loved it too.

“The educator workshop gave us some great ideas to help make teaching fundamental movement skills really engaging. Now, with any sort of physical activity we do, we identify with the children what skill they’re learning. It’s become part of the daily routine.”

The program is delivered in parallel with the NSW Health Munch & Move initiative that promotes the importance of healthy eating, physical activity, and reduced screen time for young children.

Jasmin Wing, health promotion officer at Central Coast Local Health District, said the program continues to go from strength to strength.

“Last year was our largest Move like a Mariner program, with more children taking part than ever before,” Jasmin said.

“The program’s popularity really stems from its ability to provide a fun and engaging way for children to learn vital movement skills that get them active and into healthy habits early in their development.”

“Having great role models is really important in inspiring children’s love of sport. Last year we were fortunate to see the program coincide with the Matildas fantastic run to the World Cup semi-final, with early childhood services decorated out in green and gold to cheer on the team.

“This year, with the success of our Grand Final-winning Mariners, and further involvement from both the men’s and women’s sides, we’re hoping to have even more children take part.

“Who knows, in doing so, we may even uncover the next generation of Mariners stars.”

Anthony Tugrul, Central Coast Mariners’ general manager of community and junior development, said the players love the program.

“Central Coast Mariners are proud to be once again partnering with Central Coast Health to deliver the Move like a Mariner program,” Anthony said.

“Helping to deliver programs in preschools across the coast aligns with the Mariners commitment to community initiatives. Our players love the end of program prize of visiting one lucky centre and we can’t wait to see what new skills all the kids have learnt.”

Services can register for this year’s Move like a Mariner program by contacting Central Coast Health Promotion Service on 4320 9700.