Nurturing an active streak in kids

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong (right) and SportSG CEO Lim Teck Yin waving to pre-schoolers yesterday.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong (right) and SportSG CEO Lim Teck Yin waving to pre-schoolers yesterday.PHOTO COURTESY OF MCCY

It was a morning of fun and action for children across 250 schools yesterday as they participated in a virtual obstacle challenge in the finale of Nurture Kids, a project under Sport Singapore's (SportSG) GetActive! Singapore programme.

Part of the National Day Observance Ceremony, the kids tackled the specially designed obstacle challenge by carrying out tasks such as crab walks and tyre runs in their respective pre-schools.

The event was flagged off by newly appointed Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong in his first public event appearance. He said: "Nurture Kids gives our kids a head start to a healthy lifestyle.

"This year, we are finding innovative ways to connect virtually, so that all of us can get active and celebrate National Day through sport. Let's build a strong Singapore society that stays healthy together."

Since it started in June, the third edition of Nurture Kids, which was co-organised by SportSG and Obstacle Course Racing Singapore, has engaged more than 45,000 children from over 400 pre-schools.

This year's Nurture Kids is one of the projects supported by the Active Enabler Programme, which offers $2 million in grants to various initiatives that encourage the masses to stay active while observing safe distancing.

"It was a good experience for the children to nurture their fundamental movement skills while having fun at the same time," said Thian Ai Ling, general manager of My First Skool and afterschool, NTUC First Campus. "While the safety of our children is of paramount importance during this Covid-19 period, it is also critical for them to stay active and healthy."

To commemorate Singapore's 55th birthday, Mr Tong, SportSG chief executive Lim Teck Yin, national athletes Jasmine Goh (athletics), Shayna Ng (bowling), Calvin Sim (cycling), Laura Tan (hockey) and Lucas Ng (speed skating), recited the pledge and sang the national anthem alongside the pre-schoolers in the virtual event.

Mr Tong, Lim and the pre-schoolers also did this year's GetActive! Singapore workout. As part of this year's GetActive! Singapore campaign, Team Nila leader motivators have been teaching volunteers how to do the GetActive workout virtually over Zoom.

Before the pandemic struck, the latest National Sports Participation Survey results - among Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 13 and above - showed that the percentage of people who exercised regularly (at least once a week) was 73 per cent in the first quarter of the year, an increase from last year's full-year figure of 66 per cent.

But the number dropped to 55 per cent in April and May when Singapore entered its circuit breaker phase. Half of those surveyed said they reduced the frequency of their workouts or stopped owing to the closure of sports facilities and physical distancing measures.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2020, with the headline 'Nurturing an active streak in kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe