A PROGRAM designed to combine fitness, health and literacy is making a big difference for families in Caboolture.
Each Tuesday afternoon, a group meets at Centenary Lakes to take part in the Fiteracy program - a fitness team of parents and children, who exercise together while learning about health through writing and drawing.
These group exercise programs cater especially for children and parents who have a disability. Families benefit not only from the physical movement but the close social interaction and supportive team environment that focuses on each child's strengths.
Exercise physiologist Brodie Cambourne said Suncare had played a vital role in helping establish the first Fiteracy team in Caboolture over the past 12 months and participants were showing improved confidence in their fitness activities.
"It's a whole family-based program," Brodie said. "So we might have one child referred: they might not be fitting in at school or they're a bit anxious or they just want to meet new kids and they don't know how to.
"The condition of joining is that a parent completes parts of the program as well, so it's not just a drop-off situation.
"Some of the kids might be referred by their local GP or their parents might have depression, so it's the parent who has been referred to the program. So they bring the children and the whole family can learn how to bond together through exercise."
By encouraging children and parents (or carers) to work on their strengths, Brodie was able to help children feel confident talking in front of their team.
"The program is a strength- based approach to exercise," she said. "I find that when we focus on a child's strengths, their areas of weakness are automatically worked on.
"Their strengths can be anything from getting up to talk about something, or drawing, or actually doing the exercise. It doesn't always have to be running flat out.
"Fiteracy classes promote confidence in children by encouraging children to take on a leadership role to help another child in their team, as well."
Brodie said Fiteracy catered for babies as young as six months right up to grandparents.
"It's a progressive program in that the first time they turn up, they might just sit on the hill and watch the others, because it's about feeling comfortable," she said. "We are unique in that it's for people who have a history of depression or their child has a disability. So it's for people who need that little bit of extra social sports but also the extra bit of confidence the program isn't going to make them sicker."
The Fiteracy team meets at Centenary Lakes Tuesdays 4-5pm. See kidfit.com.au or phone 1300884854.
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