At this time of year, many of us are looking for programmes that our youngsters can benefit from. What if you can have your kids not only learn about colour, numbers and counting, but also give them a head start with their teamwork, socialisation and sportsmanship skills? This is what Rugbytots is all about … There’s a class near you! Israel Redfern and Rebecca Harris explain how learning Rugby skills is not just about playing Rugby!
Introduce us to Rugbytots … what’s it all about?
Rugbytots is a fun, energetic play programme designed for children from two – seven years. We base everything around having fun, as learning is simple if you are laughing and having fun. Rugbytots developed our “fun first” programme to promote core Rugby principles, while meeting important preschool learning objectives such as colour, number and body-part recognition, counting, socialising, following instructions and using imagination.
When was Rugbytots established – and how long have you personally been involved with the organisation?
Rugbytots was started in the UK in 2006 by Max Webb, a Rugby playing dad who was looking for something for his three preschool aged boys to do. He found more like-minded parents and founded Rugbytots.
We saw an advert on Facebook advertising for franchises in the area two years ago, and so began our Rugbytots journey. We launched Rugbytots Mid North Coast on the 16th April 2016 – and haven’t looked back since
What skills are taught to participating children?
Our programme runs classes for children between the ages or two – seven years . At the moment we primarily focus on our two years – five years, but we are very keen to introduce our programme to primary schools in our area and hope to launch before and after school classes this year.
We were recently invited to the first MNC Regional Obesity Summit focusing on child obesity and know how important it is to teach the children healthy choices and staying active. We strongly recognise this need and want to be part of making this normal.
We focus on so many skills; it is so much more than learning Rugby. From counting and colour recognition to self-control, taking turns and listening, we work with the children to build their self-esteem and confidence and know that by celebrating the smallest thing with them will encourage them to do more difficult things next time. As they progress, we work with them to build a team environment and good sportsmanship. We clap and cheer each other as we race and compete and always celebrate with the winner, knowing we did our best.
Ask any of the children or parents what my number one rule is; they will all reply “No sooking”, because it’s just a game.
How do you ensure the programmes taught are suitable for the different ages of the children in your care?
Rugbytots has a structured play programme that has been proven to be successful, and that is what we stick to. The classes are broken into three groups: two to three and a half years; three and a half to five years; and five to seven years. This keeps the classes relevant to the ages.
Our equipment is bright and colourful, to keep the children focused and interested; we have special foam balls for the younger children. Our most used piece of equipment is our colourful Rugbytots size two ball, which comes in red, blue, green, yellow and now pink.
Rugbytots has certainly grown since it first began, involving more than 40,000 children in 16 countries! That’s phenomenal … What areas/locations do you look after and offer classes in?
Yes, it has. We ourselves are growing as well. We now cover an amazing area from just north of Coffs Harbour all the way down to Lake Macquarie, just south of Newcastle. We have split our locations into two areas, Rugbytots Mid North Coast and Rugbytots Hunter Newcastle. The Newcastle Hunter region was just given the go ahead in October 2017. We are starting classes down there in Term 1, 2018. We have multiple classes in so many different areas and love hearing from anyone who would like to join a class.
Why do you love Rugbytots?
Well … What a great question! I love it, because I get to be a big kid too. It’s not a “job” either … It’s something I am very passionate about. I get to teach, mentor and develop skills with children, and then I get to watch them grow. Quite often when a child first comes to one our classes, they are shy, nervous and generally stick like glue to Mum and Dad … It doesn’t last long. By end of term, we get to watch them grow in confidence and skills. Seeing the smiles on their faces just melts our hearts. Then to see the smiles on Mum’s and Dad’s face too … Priceless.
And now I am passing on that passion to our team of coaches who have joined our business, so we can offer more fun to more children in more areas.
And Rugbytots offers kids’ parties too! Tell us a bit about that – how can you help make a child’s birthday more special?
Oh, absolutely! We hold birthday parties. These are an amazing time for the child having the party. Primarily, the child is already enrolled in one of classes, so they know the games we play, and this gives them an advantage over their guests. It makes the child feel even better, as they normally excel in these games.
Where’s the best place for FOCUS readers to find out about registering for a class?
For anyone wanting to register for a class, they should go to our website: www.rugbytots.com.au and then click on Find and Book a Rugbytots Class Near You. Type in your postcode, and then you are on your way. Alternatively, they can email me at Israel@rugbytots.com.au or call or text on 0422 277 670 for further help. We welcome families wanting to come and try out before they commit to a term of classes, so you really have nothing to lose by getting in touch.
We are on Facebook as Rugbytots Mid North Coast and Rugbytots Hunter Newcastle.