Our Healthy Year
Posted: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:15
Change4Life launches a new initiative to build healthier primary schools: Our Healthy Year
A new teaching toolkit from Public Health England is being distributed to schools to help increase the number of children leaving primary school with a healthy weight
13 September 2016 – A new Change4Life initiative, Our Healthy Year, launched today by Public Health England, is encouraging schools to build healthy habits in children during the school years in which they are weighed and measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP).
Our Healthy Year will help schools to run a whole year of fun, healthy curriculum-linked activity and, in doing so, support parents who are looking for ideas to help live healthier lives.
Delivered by school nurses, the NCMP measures the height and weight of around one million school children in Reception class (aged 4 to 5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years) in England every year. The latest figures show that a third of 10- to 11-year-olds and over a fifth of 4- to 5-year-olds are overweight or obese.
The Our Healthy Year initiative launches following the Department of Health's recently published Childhood Obesity: A Plan For Action, which states that primary schools should deliver 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity for pupils every day through active break times, physical education (PE), extra-curricular clubs and active lessons. Parents and carers will be encouraged to provide another daily 30 minutes outside of school.
Children who are overweight or obese when they are young are far more likely to become overweight or obese adults. Therefore, educating children on the benefits of following a healthy, balanced diet and physical activity early on in life will encourage them to carry these habits into adulthood, reducing the risk of developing health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, in the future.
More than 16,000 primary schools across England will receive the Change4Life Our Healthy Year Reception and Year 6 teaching toolkits this term. The toolkits will include curriculum-linked activity ideas, a classroom poster, stickers and inspiration for whole-school activities. Supporting resources will be available to download from the Change4Life School Zone online, including take-home activities for children and parents, as well as resources for school nurses.
Change4Life has worked with educational experts to develop resources which will help primary teachers build healthy activity into their existing lessons and everyday routines. The activities are fun, easy and flexible enough to use over a whole year, term, month or week of healthy activity and include direct links to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, Early Learning Goals and the Year 6 Literacy and Maths curricula.
There are a range of curriculum-linked resources for teachers to choose from, including healthy phonics activity cards to help Reception pupils learn about different types of fruits while grasping initial sounds, letters and blends. Another example are the 'Healthy stories' activity ideas drawing from popular children's tales. For one of the activities Year 6 pupils will be challenged to use their numeracy skills to create a healthy meal plan to feed a whole family for a week at the lowest cost. There are also plenty of Our Healthy Year challenges to inspire pupils and parents to continue healthy activity at home.
Eustace De Sousa, national lead for children, young people and families at Public Health England, said: "With one in three children overweight when they leave primary school, Our Healthy Year could not have come at a more important time. Produced by teachers, the resources can be easily integrated into the curriculum to help children get into healthy habits to set them up for life."
The Early Years and Key Stage 2 experts who helped develop Our Healthy Year have emphasised the benefits of focusing on the youngest and oldest children in primary school.
Christine Dukes author, early years consultant and area SENCO said: "The early years setting is an ideal time to encourage children to build healthy habits as they are settling into school and forming new habits. The Our Healthy Year resources will help teachers to deliver both the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and run a whole year of fun, healthy curriculum-linked activity."
Maggie Smith author, early years consultant and area SENCO adds: "Reception is also a key time when parents are engaged and involved with school life. The Our Healthy Year take-home activities provide a great way to involve parents and sustain pupils' learning of healthy lifestyles outside school."
James Frecknall, teacher at St. Stephen's Primary School said: "Helping pupils understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle during Year 6 is really important. Our Healthy Year will help prepare pupils for a healthy transition to secondary school and set the foundations for their future health and wellbeing."
Teachers can look out for the Our Healthy Year teaching toolkits which will be arriving in schools now. To find out more about Our Healthy Year and the resources available to schools, search for Change4Life/schools online or visit the website.