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BOURNEMOUTH is thought to have the first pre-school in the country where children’s learning all takes place through sport.

Sarah Suckling launched Kinder Active in the belief that the idea could help tackle the obesity crisis in young people.

She won Ofsted registration and is taking the idea to London.

At Kinder Active, in the Avenue Centre in Bournemouth town centre, children learn numeracy, literacy and other core skills through sport.

The mother-of-three spent 15 years in Singapore, where she worked in similar pre-schools.

“When I got back here four years ago, there was nothing quite like it,” she said.

She sat on a panel with UK Active, the NHS and Sports England which discussed child obesity and wellbeing. One in 10 children start primary education obese and one in three are obese at the age of 11.

However, the government does not fund fitness initiatives earlier than Key Stage Two in children’s education.

“They’re putting a lot of funding into teenagers that are already obese and have anxiety problems. If you put money into it when they’re very young, hopefully that obesity crisis will just fizzle out,” said Ms Suckling.

Children at the nursery do one sport in the morning and another in the afternoon, with possibilities including tennis, football, hockey, rounders, basketball and dance. They often play in nearby Bournemouth Gardens.

Challenges in core areas like literacy and numeracy are worked into the sporting activities.

“It’s a really great age to start because it builds their confidence and builds their love of sport,” she said.

“They might not be the sportiest person in the world but it gives them the confidence to have a go, enjoying being part of a team.

“We recognise everything and clap everything.”

There are 27 children in the pre-school, with the number enrolled in summer holiday camps taking the total to 43.

The business employs three full-time staff as well as five apprentices.

The pre-school gained Ofsted accreditation earlier in the year.

“There’s an early years foundation guide that all pre-schools have to follow,” she said.

“I had a very nice lady come around and she asked me a lot of questions, grilled me a lot. She liked the concept and she felt it’s the way forward in the UK.”

Ms Suckling has a son at university, another doing A-levels and a 14-year-old daughter, who all have experience of active pre-schools in Singapore.

She is in the process of establishing another pre-school in London’s West End.