The Royal School of Dunkeld
- Where we’re based: Dunkeld, Scotland
- A description of our school: The Royal School of Dunkeld is a rural primary school. The nursery class are an important part of this.
- School roll: 24
- Children in school doing The Daily Mile: Nursery class
- Where we run: Laps around the playing field – 6 laps is approximately 1 mile
- Year we started The Daily Mile: 2015
Lyn Williamson and Margaret Amatt talked us through The Royal School of Dunkeld’s experience of The Daily Mile.
Please describe your school’s experience of The Daily Mile to date.
The children and staff thoroughly enjoy the daily mile. In 2016, we had a computer expert set up a tracking tool for us, which we used to plot the children’s progress with The Daily Mile. This was used (only by staff) to see what, if any, impact The Daily Mile had on the children’s physical achievements. We were able to see, very easily, how children who had started off averaging one or two laps at the beginning of the year were now managing three, four, five and even six laps, by the end of the year. We always encourage the children to go at their own pace and to enjoy themselves. We also frequently stop to look at things, and don’t make it a race or a competition. We reflected this in our tracking of the children’s improvement by calculating their improvement as an average for each week.
Did you face any barriers when implementing The Daily Mile? If yes, how did you overcome them?
At the start of the school year, some children were reluctant to walk or run long distances – the playing field is very big for little legs! We set various challenges and tasks whilst walking around, so the children were focused on these rather than the actual walk. This strategy lead to much enjoyment, more enthusiasm and improved stamina.
Since starting The Daily Mile, what differences in the school, if any, have you observed?
Using our track tool to show the progress in such a visual way was tremendous for staff to see at a glance how children had progressed in their physical stamina. We found that some like to take it easy, and walk or jog with friends, whilst others set themselves a challenge and are quite determined to do a certain number of laps (and will keep tally of this – letting us know as they whizz past!).
What has been the impact on the children’s learning, concentration and focus?
There was a marked improvement in our ante-pre-school group, much greater concentration and focus was noted as the year progressed. We looked through the “Shanarri Lens” (below) to help focus our observations on the children’s progress.
What has been the impact on the children’s behaviour, mood and relationships?
Pupils are always ‘buzzed up’ and excited about taking part in The Daily Mile. They frequently choose to walk or run in pairs or groups, often with different people than they would usually play with. They sometimes hold hands and offer support to the younger children, too. It is always interesting to hear the conversations that take part during the walk, these are regularly in-depth and, as there is a feeling of being relaxed, these chats are often very meaningful and give deep insight into their thoughts and feelings. The children are sometimes competitive, but always with consideration – it is lovely to see the way they respect, encourage and support each other.
Do you have any tips for other schools looking to get started?
Just go for it! It is a fun way to exercise for pupils and staff.
What have the parents’ reactions been to The Daily Mile?
Parents have given lots of positive comments and we even had a Daily Mile “Stay and Play” where parents could join us for the walk, we repeated this for the local playgroup and they came over and joined in too.
Any other comments?
“My daughter was not up for walking anywhere, but after she started doing The Daily Mile at Nursery she wanted to walk everywhere, which was great!” – Royal School of Dunkeld, Nursery parent
“My son came with the playground to join in with the Royal School of Dunkeld Nursery class doing the mile, this was a great opportunity to meet up with the other children and feel part of the wider community.” – Margaret, Dunkeld and Birnam Playgroup parent
“I think it is a great way for staff to get some exercise while, at the same time, spending quality time with the children and seeing them get so many benefits too.” – Lyn, Royal School of Dunkeld Nursery staff member
“I like to run and seeing my breath out of my mouth.” – Keira, Royal School of Dunkeld Nursery pupil
“I like being in a team with my friends and I like to see lorries and tractors on the road.” – Eoin, Royal School of Dunkeld Nursery pupil
“It is fun and I want to get better. I think I can do six times, easy… seven is a challenge – I am even faster than the teachers!” – DC, Royal School of Dunkeld Nursery pupil
“I like to run fast, it is easy for me to do four laps.” – Andrew, Royal School of Dunkeld Nursery pupil