Rougemont Preparatory School
- Where we’re based: Newport, (South East) Wales
- A description of our school: Private school for children aged 3-18
- School roll: 160
- Children in school doing The Daily Mile: Infants and Juniors (aged 4-11)
- Where we run: Laps of a path around the school grounds
- Month/Year we started The Daily Mile: September 2016
Tanya Mountford, Year 2 class and sports teacher, talked us through Rougemont Preparatory School’s experience of The Daily Mile.
Did you face any barriers when implementing The Daily Mile? If yes, how did you overcome them?
Back in 2015 as part of my role as PE lead for KS 1, I wanted to introduce a morning run for children and parents, which took place at 8.15am every Monday. This ran for a year and was successful, but only targeted a small minority of the school.
After a year, we reviewed it and reading about The Daily Mile, I felt this was something I wanted the school to be a part of. It would allow all the children to be involved and meant that they could see and feel the benefits of a daily physical activity, outside their PE lessons.
The staff were very receptive of this idea, and we came together to decide upon a time and place where and when the run would take place – we nicknamed ours ‘Run a Mile With a Smile’ or ‘Smiley Miley’ and every morning at 9.50am all of our pupils in Infant School head outside their classrooms, to take part.
After seeing the benefits of The Daily Mile, we asked the Junior School to join us and also take part!
Since starting The Daily Mile, what differences in the school, if any, have you observed?
The children are happier and fitter. So many children are enjoying the run that we now have started a ‘Running Club’ in the Infant School, which is proving very popular.
Even those children who did not enjoy running are having a go and enjoy being outside in the fresh air with their friends. They are also quickly realising they are getting fitter each day and appreciating that a daily activity is very beneficial for them – it not only makes them stronger, but gives them a very positive spirit!
What has been the impact on the children’s learning, concentration and focus?
They now know certain elements of work have to be finished before they do The Daily Mile, so they are more eager to complete tasks. It has helped them to focus and concentrate in the classroom so they can get outside, do their run and then return refreshed and ready to start the next lesson.
What has been the impact on the children’s behaviour, mood and relationships?
The Daily Mile has certainly helped to develop increased social interaction amongst the children. Even though running is an individual activity, we have actually seen that it has helped to promote teamwork as children are often seen helping others who need a little more encouragement.
We find that children are always happy before, during and after The Daily Mile. In fact, they will often be the ones to remind teachers that its time to run!
It has become such a major part of our daily routine that we have also now set up a Daily Mile committee who review it and take notice of pupil voice on a regular basis, to ensure that the children are continuing to enjoy and appreciate the value of the activity.
Do you have any individual success stories of pupils or staff members you would like to share with us?
Sport plays a major part in our school routine but as with every school, there are always children whose strengths lie in other areas. However, the inclusiveness and non-competitive nature of The Daily Mile has meant those children who previously thought sport was not for them have been really able to embrace the activity.
Some quotes overheard during The Daily Mile have included:
“I didn’t realise how good I have become at running, especially when I used to dislike all aspects of physical activity!” – Year 6 pupil
“Wow! Your running has improved so much since doing The Daily Mile!” – Year 5 pupil to another pupil
Do you have any tips for other schools looking to get started?
- Let the children know there is no pressure on them – it’s not a race.
- Remind them they can do it at their own speed. They can run, jog or simply walk it.
- Don’t forget it is about the time spent out of the classroom to enjoy the fresh air, refresh their minds and bodies, and enjoy the time with their friends.
- Let the children lead it. If they take ownership of The Daily Mile they will quickly realise exactly what it is about and become 100% involved.
What have the parents’ reactions to The Daily Mile been?
Parents have been very responsive to The Daily Mile and we have received only positive feedback about the activity.
Any other comments?
Towards the end of the last academic year, we were close to achieving our 100th Daily Mile and felt it was worth a special celebration.
As we had been so thrilled with the benefits of The Daily Mile, we decided to join forces with a nearby school who had just started doing their own Daily Mile.
After taking them through our journey, we worked with local Daily Mile and ‘Parkrun’ ambassadors to arrange for them to come to our school and complete a joint Daily Mile.
Over 400 pupils and staff joined together on our playing fields to run, walk and jog the course amidst great support from our Senior pupils. We were also delighted to welcome Jayne Bryant AM and Parkrun ambassadors to the celebration assembly and the run.
“We are really proud of our Infant pupils in reaching their 100th milestone run”, said Mrs Lisa Pritchard, Head of Preparatory School. “It has been delightful watching them embrace the activity over the past year, to the point that if, for any reason, they have to miss the run the children are genuinely sad not be able to take part.”
“The benefits to our pupils, in terms of health, fitness and well-being have become clearly visible” added Mr Robert Carvnevale, Headmaster. “I am lucky enough to be able to see them run the course every morning from my office” he explained, “and, the difference between when they started to now is tangible. I look forward to the activity continuing for many more years to come.”
When we asked our pupils about their thoughts on The Daily Mile, two quotes stood out in particular which we felt embraced the spirit and ethos of what we are trying to achieve.
“Running makes me feel happy and energetic for the rest of the morning. It is good as it keeps us fit, it strengthens our legs and exercises our hearts. It is also good training for cross country!” – Year 3 pupil
“Mile with a Smile is not a race, but you can run your heart out. I don’t care about the weather – all I care about is having fun.” – Year 2 pupil
As a result of the success of The Daily Mile in Infant School, our Junior School will now also be starting the activity on a daily basis and we look forward to sharing their 100th Daily Mile celebrations with you in the future.
The Juniors have nicknamed their Daily Mile ‘Active8’ and run at different times of the day, as when suits their timetables. They may not have the opportunity to run each day, but aim to run at least three times a week.
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