We’ve listened to your questions and answered the most frequent ones. If you have a question which isn’t answered, contact Elaine!
What is The Daily Mile?
The Daily Mile is simple and free. We want to get children fit for life and fit for learning by encouraging them to run, walk or jog for 15 minutes every day in their schools or nurseries. It is a physical activity which promotes social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing, as well as fitness. It takes place outside in the fresh air during the school day at a time of the teacher’s choosing. Children run in their school clothes and no special kit or equipment is required.
Where does The Daily Mile take place?
Every day in primary and nursery schools in a safe and risk-assessed environment. It happens outside (around a school playground or field for example) so that the children get the full benefits from running in the fresh air with their friends, in almost all weathers.
Do the children need a special surface to run on?
Most schools do The Daily Mile in playgrounds, around school fields (providing it isn’t muddy) and in a few cases, on specially-made all-weather tracks. Some schools with limited space do their Daily Mile around the school building. Schools looking to install an all-weather Daily Mile track should think about incorporating child-pleasing loops and swirls into the route, as this prevents it feeling like a race or a competition.
Should we risk assess the route?
Before starting The Daily Mile, the school should complete a risk assessment of The Daily Mile route and address any safety issues. It is good practice to involve children and staff in the risk assessment. Click here to read how a range of schools have successfully implemented The Daily Mile across a variety of settings.
Does The Daily Mile adversely affect children's joints?
Regular running is good for the physical development of children as, among other things, it helps to improve bone density and muscle tone – both extremely important factors in a healthy body. A strong body – and strong muscles – are more likely to protect the joints. The Daily Mile lasts only 15 minutes which is not an excessive amount of time for children to be active.
Will a child find a mile too far to run?
The emphasis is on the time not the distance. The Daily Mile is so-called because in the 15 minutes, 75% of the younger children (3-7 years) and 90% of the older children (8-12 years) average a mile or more. The Daily Mile is fully inclusive – every child participates regardless of age, ability or circumstance. Children with special or complex needs are supported to take part. What counts is not the distance but the fact that they all participate in 15 minutes of daily physical activity outside in the fresh air.
Is my child too young?
The Daily Mile works for children from nursery school age upwards because the emphasis is on moving at your own pace for 15 minutes, rather than on the distance of a mile. It’s all about empowering the children to own their daily 15 minutes of activity – even if they’re not averaging a mile (yet!). The Daily Mile instils healthy habits and reinforces a positive attitude towards regular physical activity from a young age.
Is it fully inclusive?
Every child, no matter their age, ability or circumstances succeeds at The Daily Mile. All children take part, including those with special or complex needs. In our experience, even children initially reluctant to take part in The Daily Mile come to enjoy participating and many become more naturally inclined to engage in sport and physical activity.
Won’t it tire the children out and stop them doing their school work?
Quite the opposite! There is a proven link between daily physical activity and raised attainment. The Daily Mile has been shown to increase concentration levels, reduce challenging behaviours, and improve attainment in SATs. Parents have also reported that their children are eating better and sleeping better – they’re “tired in a good way.”
What about the children’s footwear?
Children’s school footwear should be suitable for active play. The Daily Mile is 15 extra minutes of physical activity in the school day, alongside break and lunchtime. Many schools have chosen to make black trainers part of the school uniform, which works well and means that the children don’t have to change their shoes to do their Daily Mile.
Why should I take time out of a busy curriculum to do The Daily Mile?
The Daily Mile is quick. It happens in a slick 15-minute turnaround, from desk-to-desk and fits flexibly into the school curriculum. Studies have shown that The Daily Mile improves children’s focus, behaviour and self-esteem, and has been shown to raise attainment by up to 25%. Read The Coppermile Report for further details.
If a colleague is reluctant, how can I encourage them to start The Daily Mile?
The Daily Mile doesn’t increase teacher workload, nor does it require specialist skills or training – it’s as simple as opening the classroom door. Try piloting The Daily Mile with one or two keen members of staff, to lead the way for its introduction to the whole school. The feedback from teachers already doing The Daily Mile is very positive and they have embraced it readily as they see the positive impact it has on the children’s health, happiness, learning and behaviour.
How often should a class do The Daily Mile?
The clue is in the name! Ideally, The Daily Mile is run every single day in school. For children to be able to experience the full benefits and enjoy their Daily Mile, it needs to be done at least three times a week and preferably more.
Won’t the weather be a problem?
The weather is a benefit not a barrier; the children respond well to the seasons and enjoy connecting with nature. Teachers choose when they’d like to take their class out and they use a common-sense approach – not in heavy rain or when it’s icy underfoot, but if it’s cold, drizzly, misty, windy or warm that’s all fine and is really enjoyed by the children. Children wear clothing appropriate to the weather – jackets on if it’s cold or damp, sweatshirts off if it’s warm. This sensible approach helps build resilience in children.
Should The Daily Mile be seen as a replacement for PE?
The Daily Mile is a physical activity that promotes Health and Wellbeing – it is not a replacement for PE. PE is an important subject area which concentrates on teaching the skills, techniques and rules around different sports. Critically, the fitness gained by children from doing The Daily Mile actually means that they can access and benefit from the PE curriculum more readily.
Is it necessary to collect data from my class's Daily Mile?
The Daily Mile should not be driven by spreadsheets, measurement or league tables – that’s against the spirit of the initiative and could alienate some children, teachers or parents. If it’s done by agreement with their teacher, however, it can be fun for the children to count their laps from time to time, set their own targets or measure their personal best.
Can I adapt The Daily Mile and just do something similar?
The Daily Mile is sustainable over time because the children enjoy it so much. This is why it’s so important to keep it simple and stick to the core principles. Where schools have attempted to alter the core principles such as introducing a ‘daily skip’ or a ‘daily scoot’, implementing it before or after school, or reducing it to once or twice a week, it has not worked for them and the children don’t receive the benefits.
Every child, no matter their circumstances, age or ability, can succeed at The Daily MileThomas Dowens, Education Scotland