The Daily Mile is simple, free and astoundingly effective, improving children’s fitness, concentration, as well as their social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing. It is sustainable when its key principles are adhered to, and Elaine recommends the following top 10 tips for fellow Head Teachers;
1. Keep it simple- resist the temptation to over- complicate it! The Daily Mile should be fun and sustainable, in order to improve the children’s health and wellbeing.
Small Steps to Big Change The Daily Mile:
become fit, but their concentration levels increased, and they started to eat better, sleep better, and feel generally better about themselves. A new healthy habit was created, with far-reaching implications. When the children found that, during their daily 15 minutes outside, their average distance covered was a mile, The Daily Mile was born.
In the Western world we have a childhood inactivity and obesity crisis on our hands which, as numerous scientists, public health specialists and the Government now recognise, is a ticking time bomb. After years of unsuccessful interventions, could it be that a simple homegrown primary school programme not only eases this, but delivers broader benefits too? We think The Daily Mile might be onto something…
As Head Teacher of a primary school in Stirling, Elaine Wyllie became aware that her students were, like many others in the UK, very unfit. Having taken a P6 (Year 6) class out to run around the school field one cover lesson, both she and the children themselves were shocked to find that they struggled to manage a lap.
Elaine encouraged the class to reflect on and take ownership of the situation - what could be done? Eventually, the children decided it would be a good idea to carry on trying to run around the field for 15 minutes every day, for a month, and monitor the effects. They did - and not only did the children
Quite quickly, this new habit, embraced by children, parents and teachers alike, was adopted by all other classes at the school including the nursery school. It became a proud part of the school culture, and attracted the attention of the local council, the Scottish Government and the international media. Since May 2015, The Daily Mile has been making news across the world, featured by the BBC, CBS (USA), Good Morning Britain, The Guardian, The Times, The Scottish Times, The Scotsman, The Independent, Al Jazeera, and local papers as far away as Italy, Belgium and Holland. Most impressively, it has, since November 2015, been formally recommended for all primary schools by the Scottish Government, and has been taken up by hundreds of schools across Scotland and beyond.
Early results from longitudinal studies by the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh are showing very positive results - distinct increases in physical activity levels and significant decreases in overweight and obesity levels compared to the Scottish average. Schools and local authorities
12 The Kent & Medway School Sports Magazine
across the country and beyond are paying attention, with hundreds of schools having embraced The Daily Mile in recent months - and notably, the response from teachers, parents and children alike has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. After having won a Pride of Britain award for her development of the initiative, Elaine, now retired, is working to promote and facilitate the take-up of the Daily Mile across schools throughout the UK. Already hundreds of schools are picking up the initiative - either independently, or through wider strategic roll-outs (for example via local authority, health and education partnerships in Cheshire, Norfolk and Essex, to name a few).
Elaine is keen to share advice and expertise for schools looking to adopt the scheme, and can be contacted at email@example.com
2. Carry out a risk assessment- ensure that The Daily Mile is a safe activity for all children.
3. When marking out your mile, create numerous smaller laps to keep the course fun and engaging. This allows the children to enjoy running as far as they can in the 15 minutes.
4. Children should know that it's not a competition- many mix running and walking, particularly at the start.
5. It's fully inclusive- make sure all the children are out in the fresh air with their friends.
6. Do it daily- otherwise children find it hard, and won't enjoy all the benefits.
7. Treat the weather as a benefit not a barrier- jackets on in the rain, ditch the sweatshirt if it's warm.
8. No need to warm up and warm down or change clothes.
9. Do your Daily Mile when it suits you - fit it in around your teaching day.
nnect it to the classroom- it can be fun to link The Daily Mile to the curriculum.
For more information on the development of The Daily Mile, please see www.thedailymile.co.uk
, sign up to our growing community (http://thedailymile.co.uk/register
)and follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/_thedailymile
) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thedailymileforschools/
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