St Andrew’s Catholic College – Cairns, Australia
St Andrew’s Catholic College
- Where we’re based: Cairns in Queensland, Australia
- A description of our school: A large, urban school on the outskirts of Cairns
- School roll: 1,680 students from Prep to Year 12 students
- Children in school doing The Daily Mile: Year 3
- Where we run: On our school field (oval) unless wet, then we run on our front path, down past the bus stop and do laps of the basketball court
- Month/Year we started The Daily Mile: October 2016
Martin Ainsworth, Year 3 teacher, talked us through St Andrew’s Catholic College’s experience of The Daily Mile.
Did you face any barriers when implementing The Daily Mile? If yes, how did you overcome them?
We have a hot climate, so we needed the students to change their shirts in the first and last terms of the year. In the middle of the year it’s winter here, so it’s not too hot.
Also, some teachers within our school were reluctant to lose curriculum time, but we have managed to convince most to simply give it a go.
Since starting The Daily Mile, what differences in the school have you observed?
Students are fitter and some are really self-motivated to improve their lap total/s.
What has been the impact on the children’s learning, concentration and focus?
We now have a more productive work environment. The children seem more alert after doing their Daily Mile in the mornings.
What has been the impact on the children’s behaviour, mood and relationships?
The children get to chat to one another, and to quote one student “I can talk to my teacher about randoms stuff I wouldn’t normally get a chance to talk about”. The children appear happy and more healthy.
Do you have any individual success stories of pupils or staff members you would like to share with us?
From the results of a survey I got my students to complete, the vast majority say they enjoy doing it and feel fitter as a result of doing The Daily Mile. My teaching colleagues have also enjoyed the increase in their own fitness and have personal motivation to do some more running themselves.
Do you have any tips for other schools looking to get started?
Get into it! Just get out there, give it a go and if you’re worried about curriculum time being lost, justify it with the fact that… the time ‘spent’ doing The Daily Mile will be given back in work quality and improved focus of students.
What have the parents’ reactions to The Daily Mile been?
Extremely positive. Many have mentioned they think it’s a great idea.
Any other comments?
Charlotte, Year 3 student – “I love running The Daily Mile because you get to talk to your friends and it’s just amazing how fit you get from running The Daily Mile.”
James, Year 3 student – “I really enjoy The Daily Mile because it gets us outside, a break from the classroom for 15 minutes everyday. I like the chance to jog, chat with my friends and try to keep ahead of Mr Ainsworth!”
Lily, Year 3 student – “I like talking to my teacher and friends, and hearing interesting stories while we do The Daily Mile.”
Leathan, Year 3 student – “I need to do it so I get it done, and I feel good after doing 3 laps and my legs feel stronger.”
Sally, Year 3 parent – “I love The Daily Mile because it is a great way to get kids into a healthy habit of daily exercise. It’s great for their body and mind, and I would love for it to continue each year.”
Hamish, Year 3 parent – “What a fantastic way to start the day! My son has had such a great year this year and i’m sure his zealousness to come to school and his improved focus on tasks can be somewhat attributed to doing a few laps of the oval before class. He has continued to develop a genuine love of running and will be commencing extra training soon. Regular exercise is so good for physical health and mental wellbeing; such a simple, yet valuable activity for the kids to participate in.”
Nicky, Year 3 parent – “It’s important for the students to spend as much time as possible in the fresh air, being active. I think this helps their concentration and learning for the rest of the day, in addition to improving their physical health. The structure of The Daily Mile programme means this happens regularly and helps the class set and achieve specific goals.”
Sharelle, Year 3 parent – “I think it’s a fantastic idea… there needs to be some form of daily physical activity at school!”
Talia, Year 3 parent – “My son often talks about The daily Mile, just last week he was proud to tell me that he jogged non-stop at a fast pace for the entire 3 laps of the oval. I think it’s great for them to be so active on a daily basis!”
Melissa, Year 3 parent – “My son, who is not a sportsman or runner, has not only enjoyed the programme but benefited greatly from it. Sports days, carnivals and cross countries were always met with great anxiety but this year he met the challenges with confidence. He was so surprised at his improved results, as well. We live in the beautiful tropics and to start each morning with an outdoor activity, done as a group, not only gives the children clarity but also positivity for the rest of the day. With routine, I think children easily accept this and hopefully understand the importance of it for the rest of their lives. It takes a great teacher as well, to understand the benefits and implement this into their daily school routine. I only wish every class and grade did it.”
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