Published in the Ulster Teachers' Union News by Susan Thompson
Hart Memorial Primary School is stepping out to ensure all children reach their physical and personal best in the year ahead. Hart Memorial has teamed up with Healthy Kidz, bringing real enthusiasm for physical activity, building core strength, co-ordination, agility, balance and speed. Now, in 2020, we are also bringing Healthy Mind lessons into the classroom as well. Every class has three full outdoor PE sessions per week – regardless of weather: just get on the wet weather gear and go! – and an additional outdoor activity to maximise the time spent outdoors and the positive effect this has on mental and emotional health. The weekly sessions are based at each year group’s level of skill, and link to all aspects of the NI Physical Education Curriculum. The sessions are incredibly popular with all classes from Nursery to P7. Children love to see Healthy Kidz coaches around the school – Coach Steve and Assistant Coach Jamie are total celebrities in the Hart! This high level focus on physical and emotional wellbeing took off in response to educational research into the effects of the Covid lockdown on children and young people. Following their mission statement “In the Hart, the needs of our pupils are at the heart of every decision we make!” the Hart Memorial staff embraced the broadening of the Healthy Kidz approach with open arms.
The new Healthy Kidz Emotional Wellbeing website means all staff can access a wealth of resources and link the physical activity focus to all other areas of the statutory curriculum: PDMU, WAU, Literacy, Numeracy and more! The activity planning aspect of the Healthy Kidz website has ensured teachers have time to deliver inspiring lessons which create enthusiasm and excitement among pupils. The range of activities that can be delivered in the classroom require minimal equipment and no physical contact between pupils. Staff and children work together to ensure all lessons are recorded on the bespoke Healthy Kidz app and are linked to physical homework activities. Certificates for all children taking part plus additional rewards and bonus prizes are distributed each half term.
An additional benefit of Healthy Kidz is that it has enabled P6 and P7 children to enjoy after school clubs for each class during September and October, at a time when most schools have had to suspend their extra-curricular activities. This will be rolled out to different classes during each term of the school year! The pupils at Hart Memorial Primary School, Portadown, are certainly lucky as well as healthy kids!!
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