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Tema : Artigos : Kids Held Back With Over-organised Play: Shane Gould (programa Para Crianças Organizados Demais Retardam o Desenvolvimento da Aptidao Fisica)

Kids held back with ’over-organised’ play: Shane Gould

Pia Akerman

October 14, 2009 06:43am

Shane Gould blasts kids’ sports FUTURE SHOCK: WA Olympian Shane Gould tells the Australian Institute of Public Management annual conference in Adelaide that children’s sports programs as "over-organised" and holding back the natural development of physical skills, contributing to physical and social problems down the track. Picture: Andrea Laube
WEST Australian Olympic legend Shane Gould has blasted children’s sports programs as "over-organised" and holding back the development of physical skills.

She says they contribute to physical and social problems down the track.

The swimmer, who won five individual medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics, yesterday spoke out against children as young as five being pushed into team sports rather than encouraged to play naturally in the outdoors.

"There’s a certain age - five, six, seven, eight - that is really too young for kids to be involved in organised sport, even though it is modified," she said at the Australian Institute of Public Management annual conference in Adelaide. 

"I believe that children are over-organised and they don’t have enough opportunity just for free play, creative play, particularly in nature.

"Someone has coined the term ’nature deficit disorder’ - it’s not actually a true disorder, but we are going to start to see problems in children like concentration, (and) ability to regulate their emotions." 

Currently working on a masters degree in social geography at the University of Tasmania, Gould will publish her thoughts on children’s physical activity in the December issue of the Child publications in state capitals. 

In the article she blames the loss of traditional Australian backyards and the "upgrading" of public playgrounds as factors reducing children’s ability to play naturally. 

"Public liability seems to be the main focus for the design of our children’s playgrounds and all of us need to take some responsibility for this," Gould writes. 

"The race to blame someone for a child’s fall from a piece of playground equipment has had the appalling knock-on effect of almost criminalising child’s play and led to this deadening impact on our public spaces. 

"Children prefer a log and a ditch to play structures." 

Speaking after her address, Gould said home-improvement TV shows emphasising aesthetically pleasing courtyards had encouraged people to ditch traditional backyards. 

"Kids need backyards - they need to dig dirt and pull up plants and see the roots. They need to find worms and beetles and make tracks and build cubbies and pull them down again," she said. 

A mother of four, Gould raised her children on a property at Margaret River in WA, where outdoor activity was an important part of everyday life. 

In her article, Gould argues the Howard government’s focus on after-school sports to address childhood obesity was "well-meaning" but failed to attract most children who often had a "can’t do" attitude to sports. 

"Children, particularly under eights, do not, in my opinion, need to be involved in organised sports," she writes. 

Gould said children today were clumsy due to "lack of movement experiences" such as reaching, climbing, hopping and spinning. 


FONTE :,21598,26208401-5005370,00.html



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