On a sunny April morning, all of the pupils in Our Lady of the Wayside National School were walking/jogging/running 6 laps of their school yard to complete their mile. This is a regular sight in the school with all classes taking part in The Daily Mile, a health initiative which improves children’s physical, emotional and social health and wellbeing. On the 4th April Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Sports Partnership and representatives from Athletics Ireland joined An Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Ossian Smyth in celebrating the children’s hard work, presenting everyone with a medal and words of encouragement to keep up the great work.
The enthusiasm was infectious from teachers and students alike as everyone took their turn to participate in the daily morning exercise. One of the teachers said that they tried to get out nearly first thing every morning as it was a great way of burning off a bit of excess energy to help everyone to focus on school work for the hours that followed.
In 2012 Elaine Wyllie, Headteacher of a large Scottish primary school, realised that her pupils, like many others, were unfit. She introduced the concept of every class doing 15 minutes of a walk, jog or run daily and found the results hugely beneficial. The Daily mile initiative was born and now has become so popular that hundreds of schools in the UK participate in the programme and is also in countries such as Belgium, Holland, the US and of course Ireland.
Athletics Ireland are inviting all primary schools across the Country to sign up and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Sports Partnership are working locally to promote this profoundly simple but effective concept among schools in the County.
The impact of The Daily Mile can be transformational- improving not only the children’s fitness, but also their concentration levels, mood, behaviour and general wellbeing. With an increasing number of primary schools participating in “The Daily Mile” across the County of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and all across the Country, the initiative is proving a big hit. Children of all ages are getting out on a daily basis for some exercise during the school day.
Shane McArdle, Coordinator with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Sports Partnership, stated at the launch “we are delighted that so many local schools are taking part in this brilliant initiative and to be a partner in promoting The Daily Mile. It’s a great example of how something so simple can be so effective”.