It goes without saying that the team at Sport Whanganui were delighted to see last month's reports of "a significant increase in the number of people who said they play sport" from the Wanganui District Council's latest community views survey.
Steve Kerfoot, Sport Whanganui's sport development advisor for primary schools, says a major factor in ensuring people have 'positive' sporting experiences in life is to set them up for success from an early age.
And this is something that Steve and the rest of Sport Whanganui's 'primary' team aim to bring about through their delivery of the organisation's integrated primary schools programme.
In recent years, Steve has enjoyed playing a key role in recruiting and developing for the programme a devoted team of deliverers for the Fundamental Movement Skills and Foundation Skills initiatives in primary schools.
"Our Foundation Skills Programme focuses on providing support for Year 1 and 2 classes and equipping teachers with activity ideas for use between lessons and/or during physical education time. And this links in with the important development happening in kids during early childhood and paves the way for our delivery of the Fundamental Movement Skills Programme, which we provide for kids from Years 3 and 4 onwards," says Steve.
"It's basically our job to get out there and liaise with primary schools to determine how we can best support and add value in their sports / physical literacy space. We then work alongside them to set kids and their coaches up for a great sporting experience."
As well as working with schools through these programmes, Sport Whanganui sometimes gets invited to participate in supporting schools with other sports-related events and activities.
One such example was the 'Move It Day' fundraiser Gonville School held on Friday, 28 August to mark this year's Daffodil Day and raise money for the Cancer Society.
"Sport Whanganui were one of the sporting organisations invited along to help provide activities to enable the kids to meet their fundraising challenge of 'staying active for one hour'," says Steve.
"Everyone seemed to have great fun across the various activities on the day. The bike activity, in particular, proved a big hit with the kids. We recently invested in 30 bikes to take along for activities like this and to enable education institutions to use them for their curriculum activities. Some kids don't have bikes at home and so may not otherwise have the opportunity to get a taste of what it's like to ride a bike."
Since joining Sport Whanganui around six years ago from a coaching background, Steve has enjoyed seeing the positive partnership between the education sector and Sport Whanganui grow and the benefits this has for the kids, young adults and educators involved.
Anyone wishing to find out more about Sport Whanganui's work with primary schools can visit: http://www.sportwhanganui.co.nz/school-youth/primary or call on (06) 349 2300.