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At the launch of Little Kickers in 2002, the UK's leading toddler football programme, pre-school obesity was very much a 'hot' issue (*obesity amongst 2-4yr olds doubled during the 90's whilst rising above 12.5% for 5 yr olds in 2005-06) and the time was ripe for a sports-orientated initiative like Little Kickers to really take root.
* Source: National Childhood Obesity database (NCOD) Jan '07

Play not push - a positive, fun-filled pre-school football programme executed in a friendly, pressure-free environment.

Guided by the likes of FA qualified coaches, nursery school teachers, child health specialists and pro-active parents, the Little Kickers toddler football programme is an ever-evolving quest to teach fundamental football techniques & elementary life skills in a vibrant, group play environment.

Invaluable social skills like listening, sharing, taking turns and teamwork are conscientiously woven into a involving programme that places as much emphasis on simple learning concepts like colours and numbers as it does on fine-tuning a child's basic balance, agility and co-ordination.

A very level playing field
We recognise that every child is an individual, and feel that children develop their skills best when they are playing with other kids of a similar age and ability. As such, Little Kickers separate kids into four distinct age groups, which encourage each child to maximise their involvement and development potential. In summary, the real joy of our 4 pronged approach (Little Kicks, Junior, Mighty and Mega Kickers) is that we can offer a gently staggered learning environment for all our students, an enjoyable yet challenging pre-school football programme that is safe and always stays strictly within the student's comfort zone.

Little Kicks®
**selected areas**
1½ to 2 years 3 months

Setting off at a light trot, the most pressing priority here is something we refer to as 'learning to learn.' Simple problem-solving activities provide the perfect informal framework for encouraging our fledgling footballers to advance their basic attention building and listening skills. By playing fun games that include specific actions and movements children gain greater bodily control whilst simultaneously enhancing their blossoming balance, co-ordination and gross motor skills. Aside from learning how to strike stationary and moving footballs during directional play, children and parents also get the early opportunity to share those first unforgettable, goal-scoring adventures. In essence Little Kicks provides a fun, safe learning environment where your child will be encouraged to move from parent-supported participation, to active, independent interaction.

Junior Kickers
2 years - 3½ years
From light trot to gentle canter our budding toddler football maestros are now at a point where they will be encouraged to participate in structured games and imaginative free-play, adding yet another dimension to their already flourishing footwork. In other words, basic ball mastery is harnessed via multi-directional dribbling and striking. In addition child interaction and cooperation is actively encouraged as our coaches seek to stimulate greater social skills, sharing and overall team play - giving our pre-school football pupils the in-built confidence to step away from their parents/carers and stand proud on their own two trainers. It's about now that our toddler football classes really start to have an impact on improving a child's physical dexterity, particularly in the lower limbs and feet through a variety of ball-balancing games. The arrival of these newfound skills paves the way for our pupils to learn how best to move through the gears and how to change direction comfortably with the ball at their feet.

Mighty Kickers
3½ years to 5th birthday
With more basic options now at their disposal our next task is to couple your child's blossoming physical and social confidence with a greater grasp of how to read the beautiful game. Shielding, first touch play and defensive positioning are all classic examples of simple skills that over time will become second nature. Add to this memory improvement, problem solving and team awareness and your child will be quickly demonstrating all the hallmarks of a well-rounded individual with a wider appreciation of team play. Irrespective of what part sport plays in your child's future, we honestly believe the capacity to participate in controlled play, to think outside the penalty box to concentrate on instructions and visually assess a game will hold them in good stead for the future.

Mega Kickers
**selected areas**
5 years to 7th birthday
There's no need to leave at 5! Megas Kickers was developed in response to popular demand - many children who attend Little Kickers classes want to continue to build their skills - both physical and social - once they have turned 5. The Mega Kickers philosophy is divided into 3 core areas to enable them to do just this:
  1. Play: the greatest tool for development and learning is self-initiated play, which leads to excited and vigorous participation. This in turn leads to rapid improvement.
  2. Practice: activities with limited touches and turns generally will have limited benefit. Activities with lots of turns and touches will facilitate greater growth at an individual rate within a group environment. Simply put, the more you do it, the better you get!
  3. Understanding: within Mega Kickers classes our coaches focus not only on teaching children how to perform a skill, but also to start building an understanding of why the skill is needed.
Mega Kickers combines a series of activities that use imaginative play, familiar games, visual skill and creative participation to engage the interest of the child and makes them gain maximum enjoyment from participating.

Parent-friendly, child specific
The thinking behind our Junior, Mighty and Mega Kickers formats is to use two coaches, not simply to ensure that appropriate coaching ratios are maintained, but in order that you, the hard-working parent, have every opportunity to enjoy a short, well earned break and socialise with like minded parents…

With regards the youngest football format, Little Kicks, we ask that parents join the fray, because Little Kickers certainly isn't about children having all the fun!

Because Little Kickers is built on firm footballing foundations, it's very important that children aren't encouraged to embark on anything for which they aren't mentally or physically ready.


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