Junior Gymnastics at the Maroochy Beach Gymnastics Club. Jack Menkens. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Junior Gymnastics at the Maroochy Beach Gymnastics Club. Jack Menkens. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

Experts say gymnastic fun ‘helps kids learn balance’

DOING cartwheels and other gymnastic moves were good for children, a Sunshine Coast academic has said.

University of the Sunshine Coast Associate Professor in Education Michael Nagel said he understood the Peregian Springs State School's position.

However, he said it was not good for children's long term growth and development.

RELATED: Too dangerous? Cartwheels banned at Coast school

"It is really difficult for schools when it comes to litigation," Dr Nagel said.

"But developmentally it is good for children to do things like that.

"It helps them develop their sense of risk-taking and there are clinical dimensions to it too. They learn to understand about the body and balance."

Dr Nagel said wrapping kids in cotton-wool was also being applied to playground equipment.

"Playground equipment is becoming so incredibly safe, it does nothing to help children with their sense of being balanced and co-ordinated as it is so sterilised.

"In some Scandinavian countries, they are bringing back equipment that is not so safe to help kids develop balance.

"Cartwheels help children learn about their space and is important in terms of development.

"There are a lot of things to be lost in limiting children's capacities to engage in childhood behaviour. The more physical activity in schools, the better."

Noosa's Matt Smith argued the cotton-wool approach in schools was turning kids into wimps on the sport field.

"Look at them when they play sport, they're put off as they are told they are not allowed; no pushing, no shoving, no confrontation," he said.

"Fair enough, we don't want bullies, but we don't want them soft either."

- KATHY SUNDSTROM


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