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Turning physical education on its head: Kids take PE to new heights

Don’t you wish your Health & Physical Education (HPE) class looked like this when you went to school? These kids are swapping the old-school calisthenics, Beep Tests, and traditional sports for a class with a modern twist.

Children from Calvary Christian College in Townsville are getting the chance to mix movement and fun with a weekly class taking place on a Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course.

Calvary Christian College is one of many schools across the country deciding to broaden the scope of their sport offerings, with some regional schools also travelling hundreds of kilometres to give their kids a different experience, said Ninja Parc Townsville Manager Brianna Roberts.


“This is bringing a whole new meaning to physical education,” said Brianna.

“Not all kids enjoy traditional sports and on the obstacle course, they are getting stronger and fitter without even realising it because they are having so much fun trying to conquer the obstacles. It’s also about personal achievement – it’s the child against the obstacle and the focus is self-improvement.

“This is not about kids dragging their feet to sports class – this is about creating a love of movement that will last a lifetime. We have schools using it as part of their regular program every week and other schools from country areas travelling a great distance to take part a few times per year.”


Jackie Downs, Sports Coordinator from Calvary Christian College said grade 7 – 12 students have been offered weekly classes at the obstacle course for the past 4 years because the students enjoy it so much and the list of benefits was long.

“We want to provide variety for our students,” said Jackie. “It is important to offer non-traditional activities like this. Not all kids necessarily resonate with traditional activities or competitive sports.

“The fun factor is high in these sessions. Students are motivated because failure is almost non-existent.”


Jackie said that the Ninja Warrior TV show has also fuelled the popularity of obstacle courses amongst kids.


“By watching the athletes on the tv show, students have seen that it is safe to not succeed but to enjoy the challenge of trying again until they have improved or conquered the obstacle.”

Ninja Parc Founder John Pirlo said working with local schools was a priority at Ninja Parc locations across Australia.

“It’s during childhood that we set our patterns for later life and lay the foundations for our relationship with physical activity that will flow on into adulthood,” said John.


“The worst thing that can happen is that a child gets left behind because they don’t want to play football or netball and shy away from traditional sports and activities. We need plenty of options for kids so they can find something they love, an activity that fills them with joy and confidence.”


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