In its strive to instigate a sport culture, the Kunsill Malti għall-iSport (KMS) endeavours to develop and implement sport programmes targeting all members of the Maltese community. Sport is viewed as an important contributor to the health and well-being of the population. It is not only a powerful means of promoting health, but also a means of building social capital and related benefits, including education, youth development, social inclusion, crime prevention and economic development. Also, participation in sport and physical activity can also promote social integration and gender equity.
KMS offers a variety of programmes aimed at increasing the levels of participation in sport and physical activity of the Maltese people of all ages, abilities and needs both during the week, including before, during and after school hours, and on weekends. Besides the immediate benefits, there is evidence that active children are more likely to become active adults. The KMS aims to increase the number of participants of all age-groups of the population by providing age-specific sports programmes. Moreover, the KMS also strives to target other sectors and make physical activity and sport more accessible to minority groups or sectors of the population who have less opportunities. Age and ability will not be a barrier to participation in these programmes. The KMS aims to give every citizen the opportunity to be active irrespective of age, ability or gender. All sessions are held at well maintained venues by qualified coaching staff. In order to ensure that the participants receive the attention they deserve, coaching ratios are kept low. The element of fun is also fundamental in all sport programmes. All programmes are delivered according to syllabi which are designed specifically for every respective age-group, sport and physical activity.
Programmes are subsidised directly by the KMS in its commitment to increase participation in sports although there exists also commercial partners who help in allocating the financial burden of such programmes. The KMS has committed itself to work on the quality of the programmes offered whilst designing new ones wherever possible.
Children under 9 years of age
Children under nine years will be given training that develops their physical literacy, i.e. developing their fundamental movement and sport skills. The ABCs (agility, balance, co-ordination and speed) of training will be the focus of all under nine programmes and include training in the basic three sports, i.e. gymnastics, athletics and swimming. Children are also exposed to a variety of locomotor, manipulative and non-manipulative skills and to a variety of mini games. The under nine programme is divided into two groups, the foundation (4-7 years) and the participation (8-10 years). Both age-groups focus on developing physical literacy, while children attending the latter programme are given the opportunity to experience various sports while developing general fundamental motor and technical-tactical skills. The competitive element of sport is also introduced during this programme.
Sport which is classified as early specialisation, such as swimming, gymnastics and table-tennis follows a different model of development, and is offered at a younger age (age 4 for swimming and gymnastics, and age 6 for table-tennis). Children are exposed to these sports either as part of a separate programme or as part of a multi-sport programme (as in Skolasport).
Children over 9 years of age
Children over nine years can choose the sport they like from an extensive list provided. The objective of these programmes is to learn the skills, tactics and rules of the games and possibly to take up a sport as a lifelong activity, either at an elite competitive level or at recreational level.
Youth Programmes: Adventure and Multi-Sports
The KMS is offers programmes which will entice and encourage youth to participate in a programme that is not only fun, but is challenging as well. Youths will be challenged in a variety of adventure activities including, amongst others abseiling and canoeing. In a multi-sport programme youth will be given the opportunity to play a variety of games and learn the rules, techniques and tactics. At the end of a course with KMS youths can choose to join an organisation and take up further training or else pursue the activity with their friends at a recreation level.
Adults’ programmes present a variety of activities aimed at developing physical fitness and instilling confidence in being active for life. Sessions include General Fitness Programmes, Aerobics, Yoga, Pilates and a variety of sport, including swimming.
Senior Citizen Programmes
Programmes for senior citizens will include healthy walks and other low impact activities such as swimming, yoga and bend and stretch. Participants will learn about the significant potential of physical activity to impact upon their quality of life. These programmes, while maintaining social networks, aim at developing and maintaining a suitable level of fitness, promoting physical function, mobility and independence and help improve emotional and mental well-being.
Other programmes are intended to partner with local organisations, such as museums and historical places and combine sport and culture to promote holistic development of participants. In other initiatives, the KMS is partnering with other organisations (e.g MUSEUM) to provide an opportunity for physical activity and to learn new sports. Sport for all initiatives include various sport and physical activities and are aimed at encouraging more people to be active in different ways.
Through its programmes, the KMS is also striving to give equal opportunities for participation to various sectors of the population, including girls, persons from deprived areas, and persons with special needs. The content of these programmes is tailor-made to the needs of the participants and sport is used as a tool for the development of the whole person.