Georgie Gurvich really misses school sport – so much so that she has created her own daily exercise routine to do throughout her remote-learning school day.
"I like to do five-minute workouts with my siblings between sessions," the grade 4 pupil said. "It makes me refreshed and like I can start with a fresh mind."
Alex, Hattie and Georgie Gurvich doing their regular backyard exercises. Georgie misses sports and is training for cross country by running with her dad. Credit:Justin McManus
During her weekly one-hour physical education class, Georgie turns her backyard into an athletics arena, with a tennis ball shotput and parents on hand to measure her long jumping.
"It's the best activity, I really like it," she said.
The nine-year-old has also taken it upon herself to train for cross country by running with her dad around her Malvern East neighbourhood.
Georgie's mother, Caroline Gurvich, said exercise was an everyday essential for all three of her children.
During term two, when students were first sent home under a stage three lockdown, School Sport Victoria set up a range of outdoor virtual challenges, including soccer, netball, track and field and basketball.
But those programs have been scrapped under Melbourne's tougher stage four restrictions, reducing opportunities for school-led participation in sport.
According to Department of Education guidelines, schools should include 30 to 45 minutes a day of play-based learning and physical activity for students in prep to grade 2, and 30 minutes of physical activity for students in grade 3 to year 10.
The department's Learning from Home website features links to a series of videos for housebound kids, including 30-minute workouts, yoga and skipping rope exercises.
According to VicHealth programs executive manager Kirstan Corben, the Gurvich family has the right idea about staying as active as possible during the state's latest lockdown to tackle the second wave of COVID-19.
"We're acutely aware that coronavirus has caused huge disruption; we're seeing the loss of organised sport, loss of school environment play opportunities and we've lost a lot of that incidental movement, around and to and from school," Ms Corben said.
"Now more than ever, we need to pay attention to physical activity; we know it gives us great gains for our physical health but it's also really good for the social and emotional health for young people."
Ms Corben said schools, families and sports clubs should be applauded for thinking up new ways of keeping kids moving during restrictions, including online dance and gymnastics classes, skill drills over Zoom and at-home push-up challenges and running time trials.
She said she had challenged the children in her extended family to a make a Ninja Warrior obstacle course in their backyards and compare their completion times which was met with much enthusiasm.
"They love it — it keeps them active but it also keeps them connected to each other," Ms Corben said.
Lola Crawford (centre) with her sisters, Eadie (left) and Daisy.Credit:Jason South
For Lola Crawford, 8, daily exercise in her backyard and the Newport streets around her house have helped her stay happy throughout Victoria's two hard lockdowns.
"We can go on the trampoline and we walk the dog a lot," she said.
Her mum, Eleanor Crawford, said exercise and getting fresh air were a vital part of the family successfully getting through remote learning.
"We break it up throughout the day. I can't keep them focused on work otherwise," she said.
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