The West

Tiny tots learn to stand up to bullies

Perth parents are signing up tiny tots to learn self-defence in childcare centres at a faster rate than other Australian cities.

Childhood Australia started offering Dynamight Kids, a modified form of Israeli self-defence technique Krav Maga, in five Perth childcare centres three months ago and has 107 children enrolled.

It is negotiating with another 20 centres that want to offer the program this year.

The program's chief instructor, former Israeli Academy of Sport coach and Krav Maga level-four black belt Haim Sasson, is in Perth to train instructors and give demonstration lessons.

Childhood Australia managing director Leann Webb said the program taught children as young as three how to deal with real-life situations such as bullying, rough play, inappropriate touching by adults and abduction.

She said some parents were concerned it would teach young children to be aggressive, until they saw a lesson.

"We're not teaching children to fight or be violent," she said. "The voice is the first thing we start with, because for children it's their greatest weapon."

Children were told never to practise self-defence techniques on friends, siblings or parents.

The program started in the Eastern States nearly a year ago but Ms Webb said parents in Perth had responded more quickly than those in any other cities in Australia.

Subicare director Jennifer Kenyon said she would probably offer the program after she said parents whose children took part in a demonstration lesson yesterday were "blown away".

"It's fun, it teaches the children lots of great life skills," she said.

The West Australian

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