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New rec programs get the ball rolling on physical fitness

New rec programs get the ball rolling on physical fitness

Physical literacy is the name of the game.

Beyond the Playground, a new City of St. Catharines series that focuses on teaching children the building blocks of exercise and play, was unveiled by MPP Jim Bradley and Mayor Walter Sendzik at a ceremony Friday morning at Harriet Tubman Public School.

Beyond the Playground is designed for youth aged 6 to 13, with an emphasis on teaching children the fundamentals of sports and recreation in a hands-on, fun environment.

The Ontario government has contributed $53,000 from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Community Fund to support Beyond the Playground.

“I am pleased that the Ontario Government has provided funding to encourage physical activity beginning in the early years and lasting throughout a lifetime,” said MPP Jim Bradley.

Five individual programs will be offered as part of Beyond the Playground:

  • Basketball fundamentals
  • Futsal – indoor five-on-five soccer
  • Playground 101 – a multi-sport series that teaches fitness and physical literacy using popular playground activities and games
  • Super Fit – programming focused on the development of movement mechanics, strength and mind and body awareness
  • Open Gym – a drop-in recreational basketball program

Programming for Beyond the Playground will be based out of the gymnasium at Harriet Tubman Public School but the series is open to youth from across Niagara.

“This new program is a great way to help our youngest residents develop healthy, active lifestyles that they will carry forward throughout their lives,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. “The City of St. Catharines continues to be a leader in recreation programming. Thanks to this new provincial grant and partnership with the DSBN, we will continue to provide excellent and accessible recreation programs for our kids.”

Beyond the Playground starts the week of Jan. 11, 2016. Programs will be 10-weeks long and cost between $50-$110, depending on the program. Registration will open in a few weeks, but residents looking for more information can visit www.stcatharines.ca/BeyondThePlayground

“Beyond the Playground is a fun way for children to learn the building blocks of recreation,” said Lori Mambella, program supervisor with the City of St. Catharines. “All of the programming is based around fun, interactive activities, inspired by games played on the playground. Children won’t even know they’re learning – they’ll just think they’re playing.”

Beyond the Playground is the first programming scheduled for Harriet Tubman Public School as part of an agreement between the City of St. Catharines and the Niagara District School Board that gives students at Harriet Tubman Public School use of the Catherine Street Park during school hours for recess, while after hours the City is able to offer recreation programming in the gymnasium of Harriet Tubman Public School.