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Pupils step out for Moray Mile

By SPP Reporter

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FORRES schools helped launch a Moray-wide health initiative.

The launch of the Moray Mile with Anderson's Primary at Grant Park.
The launch of the Moray Mile with Anderson's Primary at Grant Park.

The Moray Mile launched on Tuesday, April 26 and the entire community was invited to take part.

The Daily Mile initiative has achieved national and international acclaim since it was introduced at St Ninian’s Primary in Stirling over three years ago. Building on this, Forres primary schools including Anderson’s and Applegrove, have been engaging in daily physical activity for some time.

However, Moray Council hoped that all schools in the area would take part on Moray Mile launch day, continuing to do a 15-20 minute session of outdoors physical activity every day from then on.

“The whole of Anderson’s Primary School, accompanied by parents, friends, and anyone who wished to join us, walked a mile then had some sport-related festivities,” said head teacher Ms Maureen Mooney.

“The P6 and P7 children also organised activities like rounders, Kwik cricket, parachute and active stations ... all active and fun!

Anderson’s were the first Forres ASG school to take part in the Daily Mile, launched by Active Schools last September.

Pupils now have a choice of a morning mile, walk a mile lunchtime clubs, class-time daily miles or lunchtime cross country club, in the playground or Grant Park.

The morning mile, open to family, carers and pets, takes place every school morning, in all weather conditions, and is supported by a dedicated member of staff.

“Some days parents and children take part,” said Ms Mooney. “On average three to five staff members join in each morning but we expect this to rise as the weather improves and the lighter mornings come.”

She added: “Members of the community with no children at Anderson’s have commented positively and joined in too. Even some unsuspecting dogs have come along!”

Monday walk a mile lunch time clubs are available for P1-P2 and P3- P7 pupils. Children collect a bead for every mile they walk, colour coded to mark the distance. The clubs are run by Active Schools and volunteers. Those who choose to walk can also set themselves a personal challenge of walking further or faster.

“The children are extremely enthusiastic,” said head teacher Ms Mooney. “They love going over to the park in the fresh air to walk or run a mile. 

“Some can be quite competitive and try to do more laps in the time slot, pushing to increase their fitness. Others prefer to walk and chat to friends as they go, developing their social skills and deepening friendships.”

Anderson’s cross country club is run on Wednesday lunch times and members were part of the P6/7 girls team that won the cross country Active Schools Trophy last month.

“Teachers are reporting that pupils are more settled after the walks,” said Ms Mooney. “They are also more aware of the health-related benefits.”

 Applegrove Primary have been running their ow Daily Mile since the October break when a teacher tried it with her class after reading of its. Many other classes quickly followed and now every pupil from P1 to P7 takes part.

Teachers choose a suitable time to take their classes outside, pupils do not get changed and go out for a maximum of fifteen minutes each day. The teachers report that the time invested in the daily mile is paying off.

“The children are more focussed during class lessons and this has a positive impact on learning,” said depute head Lesley Maclennan. 

“We are joining in the runs so a positive attitude towards the benefits of regular exercise is shared amongst staff and pupils.”

The Applegrove walkers invited parents and other family members to join them on Moray Mile launch day.

“It was a great success and lovely to see so many mums, dads and younger siblings, as well as grans and granddads, join their children,” said Ms Maclennan.

“Some parents who have several children in the school came back and joined in two or three times and we even had mums running or walking with buggies!

“The parents were very positive about the event and daily initiative. Many commented they had seen an impact on their children’s stamina and general fitness.”

She added: “Many even found it a little too hard to keep up with their children!

“Even when the rain and sleet came on they were impressed at how resilient the children were as they are used to running in all weathers.”

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