By Nurul Asyikin Mohd Nasir
A NEW exercise routine, complete with music and taichi-like dance moves, is taking some primary schools here by storm.
Jump Jam is the latest fitness programme to hit our schools.
Students dance in sync to popular tunes like Madagascar's I Like To Move It and Alvin andThe Chipmunks' Witch Doctor.
Aerobics moves are interspersed with dance choreography.
It also uses slow and dramatic taichi-inspired moves and upbeat animal-like movements.
To learn Jump Jam, schools purchase a resource kit containing a CD, notes and instruction videos for teachers. The teachers then conduct sessions for students that last between 10 and30 minutes each.
So far, six schools - Bukit View Primary School, Tampines North Primary School, Pei Tong Primary School, Yu Neng Primary School, Evergreen Primary School and Westgrove Primary School - have implemented the programme, mostly during their Physical Education (PE) lessons.
And the kids seem to love it.
Muhammad Danial Rodzleen, 11, a primary 5 student from Pei Tong Primary School, said: "It is very easy to do Jump Jam steps."
Teacher Lydia Yacob, 21, from Montfort Junior School, said it was an instant hit with her students.
She is now thinking of implementing Jump Jam for the school's weekly mass aerobics session, Workout Wednesday.
"The obesity level in schools these days is still quite high, so this programme can encourage the kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle," said Ms Lydia, who was one of 100 teachers from more than 20 primary schools who tried out Jump Jam on Monday.
The demonstration was held at the Singapore Sports School auditorium.
Mr Brett Fairweather, 46, creator of Jump Jam,was there to show his moves.
The two-time World Aerobic Champion and eight-time New Zealand Aerobic Champion said he created the dance to make exercise enjoyable for 5- to 12-year-olds.
The 8-year-old programme is now conducted by 85 per cent of elementary schools in New Zealand, said Mr Fairweather. That's a whopping 2,100 schools.
"It's good for children to enjoy exercising and get into the hang of it before work life gets in their way later," he said.
When asked where he gets his ideas for the choreography, Mr Fairweather said: "My imagination is just extreme. It's really all about the musical interpretation and the power of music."
But it took a father-son team to bring the programme to Singapore.
Mr Moo Soon Chong, 62, and Mr Errol Moo, 35, first saw Jump Jam when they took a group of students on an educational tour to New Zealand in April last year.
They were so won over that they approached Mr Fairweather and introduced it to five primary schools here this year.
The senior Mr Moo is not new to the sports education scene. He was the founding principal of the Singapore Sports School.
Now, he is consultant and director at Yellowbox Education Services, where the junior Mr Moo is general manager.
Said the senior Mr Moo: "Now that the Youth Olympic Games are approaching, it is a good time to get our primary school students to take part in Jump Jam and see exercise as something fun, something they can do at theirowntime."
The Moos are thinking of introducing the programme to kindergartens and secondary schools in the near future.
This article was first published in The New Paper.