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Gymnastics Tasmania and Gymnastics Direct partner to support isolated Tasmanian schools

PRESS RELEASE

Gymnastics Tasmania and Gymnastics Direct are delighted to announce a joint initiative aimed at enhancing physical education programmes in remote Tasmanian communities. Supported by a grant from the Tasmanian Government, this partnership will enable schools to utilise gymnastics equipment to deliver fundamental movement programs.

"The primary objective of this initiative is to enable schools to access more resources for teachers and students in remote communities," said Gymnastics Tasmania CEO, Sam Brittlebank.

"There is a need across our education system to promote physical development and build confidence and social awareness. This program provides the tools for that, whilst helping students gain a deeper appreciation for sport and fitness."

Strahan Primary School, located in the west of the state, was selected as the initial participant in this pioneering initiative. In January 2024, a variety of equipment including bars, balance beams, and protective matting was supplied. Six months later, feedback from the school highlighted significant improvements in motor skills, activity levels, and overall fitness.

“Strahan Primary School is ecstatic with the equipment we have received. Being situated in a remote area we do not have access to gymnastics or sporting clubs. This generous donation of equipment has created an opportunity to broaden and enrich our student’s development, creativity, skill and fitness.” 

“Gymnastics is now a regular part of our school sessions and has provided a fantastic form of growth for all students, the benefits are endless," said Hayley Clark, School Business Manager, Strahan Primary School.

Michael Serjeant, HPE teacher at Strahan Primary School, noted the educational benefits:

"The equipment donated to our school was effective in helping students meet targeted learning indicators through a fun and engaging mode of delivery.

Development of fundamental gross motor skills has been largely enhanced at our school, by using the different pieces of gymnastic equipment, in a safe and supportive environment."

Recognising the challenge of limited access to qualified gymnastics coaches, initiative coordinator Sam is exploring the potential of an AI development program.

“Gymnastics is the foundation for all sports, providing young children with essential physical skills crucial for their development and fostering a healthy, active future. With equipment now secured, our focus shifts to supporting schools and educators. Although still in the preliminary stages, we are developing the integration of AI technology into lesson plan generation programs aligned with the school curriculum. Early outcomes indicate significant potential for transformative impacts in the industry.”

"Gymnastics Direct has been servicing the Australian gymnastics and education sectors for eighteen years, and this is one of the most forward thinking and proactive initiatives that we've seen in that time," said Gymnastics Direct Managing Director, Grant Dodd.

When Sam proposed this idea, it was a no-brainer to participate. Teachers nationwide consistently share the challenges of integrating movement and activity into their programs and motivating student engagement. With the aid of high quality equipment and the intrigue of the new and different, we've been able to set the wheels in motion for this to happen on a more consistent basis."

Further details about the program extensions will be announced in the coming weeks.

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