When Belle’s daughter Ava told her that she was learning lawn bowls at school, Belle had no idea that she herself would become an advocate for the sport.
Bowls was a sport unknown to the students at Fadden Primary School in the ACT until early 2022, when the school received funding for a lawn bowls program through Sporting Schools.
“I was aware that Ava was playing different sports at school, but I did not know much about Sporting Schools,” Belle said.
Opting to teach the program himself, physical education (PE) teacher, Dave Matthews delivered the Rookie Roller’s program using an equipment kit purchased with a Sporting Schools grant.
“I did online training as part of the Sporting Schools Program, something I had done with a variety of other sports. There was a great little package available for teachers and I felt confident teaching the basics of the program to our students,” Dave said.
“The program provided a wonderful introduction to lawn bowls, sparking interest in children that did not always feel confident engaging in sport.
“With lawn bowls, you are learning a fundamental skill. You don’t have to be the fastest or the tallest to do well, so it was great to see students who don’t normally engage in sport excel.
“I could see the impact the program had on the children and thought it might be nice to get the parents involved in the transition from skill development to playing the sport.”
The program provided a wonderful introduction to lawn bowls, sparking interest in children that did not always feel confident engaging in sport.PE teacher Dave Matthews
Dave was keen for the students to take it to the next level and transition into their local club. By engaging with Bowls Australia Regional Manager, Nick Hind and the local Tuggeranong Vikings Bowls Club, they worked together to set up a family school holiday session at the club.
Belle said, “We received an email from the school, inviting us to come along and try the sport as a family.”
“I thought this was a brilliant idea on many levels – Ava could show me the skills she learnt during the term, and I was introduced to a sport I might not otherwise try. I was also able to spend some time being active with my daughter in the holidays.
“With the awesome coaching from Nick and encouragement from the local people at the Tuggeranong Vikings Bowls Club, we went through drills and even had some competitive games to build our skills. It was nice to see the kids translate the skills they had learnt, on a real bowling green.
“The club arranged some giveaways and treats for the participants to keep the day fun and allowed us to discover a wonderful social sport for the whole family to get involved in.
“It was a great way to introduce a bunch of people to lawn bowls who came in as strangers and left as friends.”
Belle and Ava
Nick said, “The success of the day really is a credit to Dave, who decided to look beyond the classroom to engage the students and their parents in the sport.”
“It really is a win-win-win situation. A win for the club, which gets the opportunity to sign up more members, a win for the parents and family who get to see the skills their children are learning and a win for the teachers, who continue to do amazing work to get children active and engaged in sport.”