“Our son enthusiastically jumps out of bed to go to school”
St Clare’s Primary School in Harold’s Cross Dublin’s aim is to showcase how they promote health within the school and the wider community. On 24 June, the judges visited the school, “had a great day and it was a fantastic opportunity for the children to show how their level of activity has increased over the past year.” said organiser Anna Ni Domhnail.
Marathons, Smoothies And Healthy Living Tips For Judges
The day started early as the enthusiastic children of St Clare’s took part in a ‘Run A Mile’ activity. This takes place every Wednesday and Friday morning at 8 am with over 150 children taking part as well as staff. Over the course of the year, nearly 40% of the children ran the equivalent of a full marathon and the remainder ran the equivalent of a half marathon.” commented Ms Domhnail.” It was an extremely hot morning on the day the judges visited, so the judges were treated to a refreshing fruit smoothie which the children had made with ingredients from their own fruit garden. The judges weren’t expected to take part in the run!
The staff at St Clare’s School decided that they had to tackle the problem of childhood obesity from within the school community. Although there had been a long-standing policy of healthy eating and active travel within the school, there were still large numbers of children who were overweight and obese. The aims of the project:
- Improve the level of physical activity
- Promote an active and healthy lifestyle
- Ensure all areas of the PE curriculum are being taught across all class levels.
- The staff set up an ‘Active School Committee’ comprising of children, parents and staff members.
- ‘Wake Up Shake Up’ was introduced at 8.30 a.m. every morning before school. This involves the school staff, students and on occasions parents taking part in dance routines for ten minutes. The children really enjoy it and staff noticed a huge improvement in punctuality with the children being more alert in the mornings coming into class.
- New sports were introduced to the school to cater for the needs and interests of every child, making sure to include both competitive and non-competitive, individual and team based activities.
- Professor Donal O’Shea, Consultant Endocrinologist and Physician from St Vincent’s Hospital and St Colmcille’s Hospital spoke to the parents and the children about healthy eating and the 60 minutes of exercise required by all children per day.
On the day the judges visited, they were treated to salads and rhubarb crumble prepared with the fruit and vegetables grown in the school garden! The judges said that they really enjoyed this!
The activity in the school this year has been infectious. St. Clare’s alone cannot change the world but we are casting a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
Parents are also hugely supportive of the project.
I’m delighted with the morning run with Eamon. Our son enthusiastically jumps out of bed to go to school.
Another parent gleefully remarked:
My daughter wants to get up earlier to get to school due to her change in attitude and her new love for exercise.”
The judges left Harold’s Cross with a few tips themselves from the kids on how to actively live and promote a healthy lifestyle. Here’s hoping they get to put them into use as they travel the length and breadth of the country! For more info about the school and their health programme, visit the St Clare’s website!