Source: Frontline, The Physiotherapy magazine for CSP members
Mark Gould, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, talks to the former headteacher whose initiative to improve her pupils’ fitness in the fresh air is now benefitting millions of children across the world.
‘It wasn’t PE, it wasn’t sport – we had stumbled upon something special.’ So says Elaine Wyllie, the fabulously enthusiastic and energetic woman who has sparked a worldwide campaign to get children more active and improve their physical and mental health.
…And Wyllie emphasises that it is totally inclusive: ‘If you are in a wheelchair you are out on the Daily Mile as well. Special needs pupils in a mainstream school? No bother. It’s really taken off in special needs settings, for children with an exo-skeleton right the way through to a walker, or self-propelling in a chair – they are all outdoors with their friends.’
She says there are the added benefits of improved mental health, less anxiety, and improved readiness to learn. ‘Relationships improve, the language of friendship changes, they can have side-by-side conversations with their teacher in a safe space. When Education Scotland came to see it they said there are no failures here, all these children are succeeding at their own Daily Mile. They said “Look at these 11-year-old girls, you never see them running”.’
Jennifer Harris, the lead senior physiotherapist in paediatric MSK and orthopaedics at Chesterfield Royal Hospitals Foundation Trust, has analysed The Daily Mile and is a fan.
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