extra curricular activities


Ari takes inspiration from her own childhood when planning school holidays for her child.

Okay, so now that I’m a mother, I can see the flawed and horrible logic that is the summer School Holidays.

SO LONG! Why so long? And why so sunny? Not only do the weeks last forever, each day seems like about ten days because the sun never goes down so you can’t do the old, it’s-dark-now-so-go-to-bed-and-leave-me-in-peace trick until about 9.00pm. Gruesome. Badly planned. Too hot. Whoever decides on these things needs a couple of mothers on the committee to arrange things properly.

When I was a kid, I loved Summer Hols, even though they mostly consisted of going to swimming lessons. I mean, there were a LOT of lessons and they kinda sucked. We didn’t get merit certificates for putting our heads under the water, or anything like that. No, me and my three siblings used to front up to the fifty metre non-solar-heated pool and some Old Boiler would make us fling ourselves into the lap-lane and bitch at us about our stroke. Every. Single. Day. I joke not. The only day we didn’t go was Sunday, and that’s because we had to go to church. My folks liked structure.

All of us kids were at different swimming levels and each lesson lasted about an hour – no pithy 25 minutes in a heated pool for us – so we had to hang around the local pool for about five hours by the time we got through everyone. In between lessons my mother, who engineered the annual Swimming Lesson Bonanza, would instruct us to do about a million more laps for ‘practise’, while she leisurely swam about seven lanes away from us pretending, I see in retrospect, that we didn’t belong to her.

Anyway, all that lapping took us through to about 2.00pm every day, and after five hours of swimming in waters that felt sub-Arctic, we had a lot of our collective Energizer Bunny burnt out of us. Basically that meant we were too tired to whinge and fight at the level we were accustomed to. Plus, we were starving.

My mother is a wily woman, non? She was deliberately, and delightedly, onto something and, now that I am a harried veteran of School Hols myself, I can see she utilised this strategy shamelessly throughout my childhood.

Summer hols meant overdosing on swimming lessons and Old Boilers brandishing megaphones but I think our winter holidays were worse. In winter, we’d take a trip down to Bluff Knoll and have to climb the mountain pretty much constantly. Once was never enough.

I, personally, do not understand the point of mountain climbing. I know there is a point and people feel all I’ve-Conquered-The-Mountain kind of thing when they’ve slogged up the rock face and are standing at the top, but I am quite happy for the mountain to conquer me. The mountain can win and I am MORE THAN OKAY with that. There. I said it. Go mountain. Victory is yours. Unfortunately, my folks are conquering types so I have actually conquered Bluff Knoll – miserably and without grace – more times than I care to recall. Sorry ‘bout that mountain. Won’t happen again.

If we didn’t climb the mountain, we’d go on long bush walks – like six hours or something – with an apple and a vegemite roll for sustenance, and only one another for company. I am not sure why. My parents thought this kind of thing was Fun With A Capital F. I mean, they really dug stumbling along some bush track for hours playing ‘I Spy’ for kicks. There’s only so many times you can Spy a Tree, if you know what I’m saying.

And being winter it rained quite a bit. Basically it rained whenever we had to do a Challenging Outdoor Activity, which was every day. It did not matter if there were fecking hail stones the size of golf balls – we still went mountain climbing or roaming around in the wilderness. My mother packed an odd assortment of raincoats for such weather and flung them happily at us, along with random too-big gumboots, and off we went.

We did complain to our parents, of course. I might have, ahem, complained more than anyone else but they took precisely zero notice and we still had to do these God-awful Extreme Sport like holidays, except we didn’t look cool like they do in Extreme Sport commercials, we just looked random and mis-matched, dodging hailstones in our weird raincoats.

So anyway, this School Hols we had a few weeks of the child bouncing-off-the-walls and me and the other half were starting to get a bit desperate and tetchy. The days were sunny and hot and, above all, long. So, so long.

“I have the solution,” I said, one morning after trying and failing to persuade the child to bounce on the trampoline in the broiling son without Mummy.

The other half raised an eyebrow.

“He needs to know how to swim better than he does,” I gabbled. “Much, MUCH better. We need to book him into swimming lessons EVERY DAY for the rest of the holidays RIGHT NOW.”

I grabbed my phone and started dialling swim schools and, gosh darn it, I did not stop dialling until someone told me they would take him the very next day. Huzzah!

And so he went. And he put his head under the water and blew bubbles and stuff. And he got a merit certificate and a colouring in book and lots of high fives. Unfortunately, it seems Old Boilers are now extinct, but he still got tired-ish. Sort of.

Next hols, I’ve decided that we’re off to Bluff Knoll. I plan to nominate myself for tea duty, while my husband and son conquer the mountain.

The Academy of Performing Arts, Macarthur is a centre of enjoyment and excellence for students to gain a love and appreciation of the performing arts.

Pauline Hincks, founder and director of The Academy of Performing Arts, Macarthur and her amazing team of talented and extensively qualified teachers, have been introducing and developing children from all ages, abilities and gender to a world of fun and excitement, through music, dance and performing arts for many years.
The Academy of Performing Arts Macarthur is a place where dancers can have fun, feel welcomed and learn performing arts whilst making new friendships.

Have fun, feel welcomed and learn performing arts whilst making new friendships

The Academy’s caring teachers provide children with inclusivity as they welcome and encourage all levels of ability, where each student can experience the magic of stage and performing arts in an inspiring and supportive environment.
It is this support and encouragement that has seen Pauline bring happiness through her teachings for 50 years. This heritage extends to second and third generation families coming back to the studio to learn the art of dance.
Parents can rest assured that their children will receive fun and inspiring classes, whether attending as a hobby, to make friends or wanting to train to a professional level.

Students learn awareness of their bodies and encourage positive development by promoting healthy mind, body and spirit.

The Academy encourages students to express themselves and their individuality through dance. They provide a healthy, enjoyable and professional environment in which students build confidence and self-esteem, creativity and develop as individuals. Students learn awareness of their bodies and encourage positive development by promoting healthy mind, body and spirit.

APAM believes that students always learn best when they enjoy what they do. Therefore, through positive encouragement students can create idyllic childhood memories. Thanks to their caring teachers who create fun classes to ensure everyone can share the love of dance.


Creating the future generations of performing arts audiences

The Academy of Performing Arts, Macarthur provides every student the opportunity to enter the magical world of stage and performance through their annual concerts, where they showcase their talents with age appropriate music and modest costumes.

As a result of The Academy’s philosophy and values, they have produced some amazing professional dancers who have been offered positions within the Australian Ballet School, the Australian Ballet School junior interstate program, the Boston Ballet School just to name a few plus a growing number of professional contracts with dance companies both in Australia and overseas including Moulin Rouge Paris and Disneyland Tokyo.

The Academy of Performing Arts Macarthur, is nurturing a community where students come together to share the love of dance and in turn they are creating the future generations of performing arts audiences.


Developing motor skills, confidence, co-ordination and rhythm as they are introduced to the magical world of dance

Classes at the studio run 6 days per week. Styles include, Ballet, Jazz, Modern Lyrical and Contemporary, Tap, Hip Hop, Singing, Piano, Theatre Arts and Drama, Pre-School and Pre-Primary Classes as well as their very popular mummy and me classes.

Morning classes are perfectly catered for the youngest age groups. They are music and dance classes focusing on fun, exploring movement through music and the use of props and the child’s imagination.

The Magic Rainbow for 18 months to 2 years and Wigglebugs for 2 to 3 years are the mummy and me classes but for the more independent 3-year-old they can join the Buzzy Bees class.

Children enjoy their favourite songs and with its exciting and entertaining activities, they develop their motor skills, confidence, co-ordination and rhythm as they are introduced to the magical world of dance.
Want to know more?

P: 02 4647 0255
E: info@apamacarthur.com.au
W: apamacarthur.com.au
A: 25/24 Anzac Avenue, Smeaton Grange 2567