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September 27, 2012, Victoria, BC – The Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE), the B.C. Government and Saanich Parks and Recreation are collaborating on an after schools program that promotes physical literacy to children in Grades 1 – 5. The program starts on October 1 at Tillicum School, and will run from Mondays to Thursdays from 2:45 pm – 4:45 pm.

The program covers a wide range of games and sports that help kids learn and practice their fundamental movement and fundamental sports skills. Grades 1-2 will be taught on Mondays, grades 2-3 on Tuesdays, grades 3-4 on Wednesdays and grades 4-5 on Thursdays. Saanich with supportive funding from the Canadian Jumpstart Program has been able to offer the Canadian Jumpstart Academy on Mondays and Wednesdays, with the Tuesday and Thursday sessions funded by the After School Sports Initiative (ASSI) through the B.C. Government.

Two PISE staff and one Saanich Education Assistant will deliver the program, which was first introduced to the school in April 2012. “The kids always begin each session with 20 minutes of free time, to blow off some steam and run around, and they typically end with a “Kids’ Choice” game, where they choose the game,” says Andie Pask, Physical Literacy Coordinator at PISE. “We want the kids to feel that they are important and have a say in how the day is shaped. The kids have a ton of fun each session, but don’t necessarily realize that they are learning skills that will carry them through life. We really believe in “active coaching” where the children learn as they play, and we provide feedback throughout the day to help them along.”

“The ASSI at Tillicum has provided after school physical activity opportunity for over 100 children in a safe and supervised setting. Students have participated in developing physical literacy skills, healthy nutritional decision making and an increased understanding of the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices,” says Lori Burley, Principal, Tillicum Community School. “PISE provides excellent programming which has led to an increase in participation in school wide activities both during school as well as after school. Students look forward to the after school programs and parent support for these opportunities is strong.”

PISE, B.C. Government, Saanich Parks and Recreation and the Canadian Jumpstart Program hope to expand the program to other schools in the region during the fall.