The Daily Mile in Early Years Settings

The aim of The Daily Mile is to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of our children – regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances.

Read on below

The Daily Mile is a social physical activity, with children running, jogging, wheeling or walking – at their own pace – in the fresh air with friends for 15 minutes. We want every child to have the opportunity to do The Daily Mile in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings.

The Daily Mile basic principles that apply to primary schools can apply equally well to Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings.

These can be summarised as ‘every child, every day’, based on the ‘Four Fs’: fun, friendship, fresh air and freedom.

Key elements include:

  • Children running/jogging/wheeling/walking/toddling for 15 minutes a day outside in the fresh air as part of a daily focus on health and wellbeing and physical activity. There is no requirement to complete a mile. The mile is derived from the approximate distance that the original Daily Mile pioneers at St Ninian’s Primary School, Stirling, managed in 15 minutes
  • Children taking responsibility and ownership for their Daily Mile, which means going at their own pace and deciding on whether to, and when to, run, jog, wheel or walk (or, in the case of many two year olds, toddle)
  • The teacher or other ELC practitioner/manager chooses when to do The Daily Mile, depending on what else is happening that day
  • The Daily Mile is physical activity and health and well-being in a social, outdoors context. It is not active play, physical education (PE) or outdoor learning, although participating in The Daily Mile can encourage curiosity and interest in outdoor environments in keeping with wider outdoor learning opportunities

Click the links below to watch how the Beach Babies Nursery in Landbeach and Little People Nursery in Wigan have implemented The Daily Mile into the nursery day and the impact it has had on them.

The Daily Mile at a Nursery Setting (Beach Babies Nursery) The Daily Mile at a Nursery Setting (Little People Nursery)


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Core Principles Setting Up Guidance

The Daily Mile Core Principles


It takes just 15 minutes with no time spent changing, setting up or tidying up. Transitions between class and route should be slick.


The Daily Mile is physical activity in a social setting and must be fun for the children. They can chat to their friends as they run/jog/wheel/walk/toddle along enjoying the experience together.

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It’s always fully inclusive – every child, every day. They should all be out together in the fresh air. Children with mobility difficulties should be supported to take part.


Treat the weather as a benefit, not a barrier. Children enjoy being outside in the different types of weather, connecting with nature and being aware of the seasons.


Ideally, your Daily Mile route should have a firm and mud-free surface – most schools use the playground or an existing path. Incorporating child-pleasing loops and squiggles works well.


Risk assess the route in order to ensure The Daily Mile is a safe activity. Please see a sample risk assessment, here.


The Daily Mile should happen during curricular time, at least 3 times a week. Ideally, the class teacher should decide when to go out – they know their class and can respond flexibly to their needs.


The children run in their school clothes without changing into kit, putting jackets on if it’s cold or damp and taking sweatshirts off if it’s warm.


The children go at their own pace. Done properly, it’s not a walk – able-bodied children should aim to run, jog, wheel, walk for the full 15 minutes with only occasional stops to catch their breath, if necessary.


Keep it simple. Resist the temptation to over complicate it. It should always be social and fun. From time-to-time, you may wish to connect it to the curriculum or do something seasonal