Today, Kindergym Victoria’s Director Lisa Andraczke, inducted volunteer Lachlan Downie into the wonder and hidden gem that is Seaford Kindergym, before his assignment with ‘IndoGym’, Yogyakarta, Indonesia as part of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID)
This Australian Aid funded program sends skilled volunteers to contribute to international aid objectives such as community sport initiatives, which build relationships between our countries, creating lasting change, and improving education outcomes and livelihoods for the communities involved. Mr Downie is the most recent recruit, preparing to facilitate the continued improvement and growth of the Indonesian School “Sekolahku-MySchool’s” IndoGym program, in which Kindergym Victoria helped establish five years ago.
Indogym was initially created with Australian Sports funding and run by education foundation Tunas Cerdas Gempita (TCG), under the guidance of Australian- Dr Margaret Shore. The ‘IndoGym’ early gymnastics program provides physical education to children in Yogyakarta, particularly girls and children with additional needs, aged three to 12 years. Indogym provides local Indonesian children with opportunities to develop physical fitness, develop gross and fine motor skills, improving children’s participation and exposure to sport, in turn building healthy communities. Indogym also provides training and alternative safe job opportunities for local Indonesian woman such as primary school teachers and sports coaches.
On February 26th Mr Downie will depart for Yogyakarta where he’ll be immersed in the Indonesian language and culture before commencing his 10 month placement within the rural school. As the Australian Partner Organisation, Kindergym Victoria’s director Ms Andraczke will mentor, train and support him before and during his role as Physical Education Curriculum Adviser.
Whilst abroad, Mr Downie, who holds a Masters in Education focused on early childhood physical activity and development, aims to support Sekolahku-My School’s teaching staff to make best use of the program’s philosophies and equipment by formalising program and training materials for ease of use by all staff, and increasing inclusive and integrated educational opportunities for Indonesian youth of all abilities.
“Kids learning in a linear way can be very limited. Through Kindergym philosophies and equipment, kids are learning it THEIR way, and therefore (the learning) becomes intrinsic. They feel amazing to have accomplished something using their bodies and the equipment in a way that feels natural to them, not just because someone told or showed them how to do something a particular way and gave them a gold star for it!” shares Mr Downie, who is looking forward to getting “immersed in the school and the culture” and “creatively overcoming any hurdles”.
As Ms Andraczke. experienced herself first hand, with her initial trip to establish the program and train 30 woman from local communities to be gymnastics instructors in the absence of any “formal” equipment. “Getting educators to think outside the box, plan and problem solve is a big part of the professional development” says Ms Andraczke who visited local markets to gather materials such as feather dusters, rope, rice sifters, and broom handles which formed the physical foundations of the initial program. “The beautiful thing about gymnastics is that you can do it without equipment: you can hang, you can roll, you can balance: all without expensive equipment. That’s what’s special about Kindergym and what we promote: to look at what’s around you and how you can use it in a different way to extend and challenge a child’s physical play space”.
For more information about the program please visit: