Moneymore Primary one of the first schools in NI to join fitness drive The Daily Mile
Everyday, children, staff and teachers at the school leave the books aside to go on a fifteen minute run around the grounds.
And aside from benefitting their physical health, the new regime has seen a marked improvement in concentration in the class according to principal Ashley Cunningham.
After some staff at the school saw The Daily Mile - which originated in Scotland - in the media, Mrs Cunningham said: “We discussed the option to see if we could build this into the school day.
“We made the decision that we would start on the 18th of April,” added Mrs Cunningham, “because we are into the third term and the weather’s supposed to be better.”
After that the team worked out that a mile could be finished “jogging at an average pace” by many children, from P1 to P7, in fifteen minutes.
But instead of having pupils run around the school during break or lunch time, Mrs Cunningham said they decided to do it during class time. A decision, that she says, has helped with their concentration and improved other areas of learning.
“They come out of class and run around the school,” Mrs Cunningham explained. “They would run in their uniform - there is no need to change or have special equipment.”
And it’s not just the pupils who take part. Everyone from teachers, to catering staff and the caretaker join in.
“It’s very much a whole-school approach. So far it’s been going well. The children are enthusiastic and the parents are very supportive.
“We are hoping over the next few weeks to see fitness levels improve, but there certainly is a feel good factor about it.
“The children have just accepted that this is what we do (and) we have noticed an improvement in concentration and focus because they are getting out into the fresh air.
“We can build it in and it isn’t having an impact on other areas of learning. In fact it’s improving, because children at some times of the day start to flag a bit.
“But, being out and getting the blood flowing, they are coming in and focusing and settling better.”
To see how your school can get involved, check out www.thedailymile.co.uk