Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Miles of smiles as St.Brigid’s PS joins the ‘Daily Mile’ movement

The staff and children of St. Brigid’s PS, Drumilly, are delighted to have been recognised by the Public Health Agency for their participation in the Daily Mile challenge,  an initiative which encourages schoolchildren to walk or run a mile every day. 

The local primary school is one of the first in the north to take up the challenge, which sees all staff and children downing pens and pencils for 15 minutes each day while they get outside to complete their daily mile.  

Speaking to The Examiner about the healthy initiative, primary 2 teacher, Maria Murphy, said both staff and children have loved taking part in the scheme,  which many teachers may now implement on an individual basis with their classes.

“The whole school has really reaped the benefits of the initiative,” said Mrs Murphy.

“The children love getting out for their walk or run and it helps them in so many areas – for the younger children especially, it helps to release some of their boundless energy and improves concentration levels when they come back to class. The older kids are very competitive and love to challenge each other about who can go the greatest distance, while the benefits for us as teachers have been fantastic too.

“It has had such a positive effect on the school, both in terms of physical and mental wellbeing. I find it gives me a chance to chat with individual kids while we walk – something you don’t often get to do in the curriculum-based day. I usually choose a different student to walk and talk with each day so it has really strengthened the teacher-pupil bond too.”

The Daily Mile scheme was pioneered by Scottish head teacher , Elaine Wylie, who started it in 2012, with the simple belief that it would help children lead more active lives and encourage the development of healthy habits in the future.  Since then, more than 3,600 schools in 30 countries around the world are said to have taken up the idea. Recent academic research into the initiative has confirmed that children undertaking the Daily Mile show significant health benefits when compared to children who are not and has led to calls for the intervention to be introduced across all schools and for it to be considered for inclusion in government policy.

On Wednesday, Public Health Agency representative, Orla Greene, visited St. Brigid’s to congratulate them on their participation in the project.  The school was praised for fully embracing the Daily Mile initiative and being a fantastic example of the positive effects of the scheme on the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff alike.