Tiny Tots from Groomsport Playgroup Jump and Jog with Friends as part of their Daily Mile

6th March 2024
Children at playgroup

Pre-school children eagerly pulled on their hats and coats at Groomsport Playgroup this week as they prepared for their chance to take part in the ‘Daily Mile’ initiative.

This health improvement initiative for children has been developed by The Daily Mile Network in partnership with The Daily Mile Foundation and is aimed at improving the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of children, regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances. Over 20,000 schools and nurseries are currently talking part world-wide in the initiative.

Children can run, jog, wheel or walk at least a mile for 15 minutes every day.

Manager of Groomsport Playgroup Heather Patton introduced the Daily Mile to the children in April 2023 and described how the children love to be active in the fresh air in the garden. She said, “The benefits of daily exercise is wonderful for children and parents. Everyday we take our children out in all weather, we have waterproof trousers, hats, warm coats and if it is wet we put our wellies on!

“An immediate benefit for our children taking part in the Daily Mile allows the children to burn off a lot of theirenergy. When the children come in from being outside, you can see how much more they are settled and are ready for their story before going home.”

Heather continued: “The children are fitter, they can run for longer and they are encouraging their parents to take them out more which is what we want. The children just can’t wait to go outside when they are here. They have learnt self-help skills as well through the Daily Mile, such as putting on their own coats, their own hats and taking off their shoes which is a great way of getting ready for starting school.”

Heather added that she would encourage any preschool, day-care group to take part in the project. “We do our Daily Mile everyday, it is the start of how to keep fit for life, how to keep moving to keep healthy. We have noticed, especially since Covid, how many children are sitting with iPads, sitting watching TV and not moving about as much. We don’t have any iPads in playgroup and the children don’t look for them here. They know they will be going outside, keeping fit and they just love it!”

South Eastern Trust Community Health Development Practitioner, Jayne McKillen described Groomsport Playgroup as a “great advocate for the Daily Mile.” She added, “The Daily Mile is very well established in primary schools and it is a simple way to get some physical activity. There is no specific training involved, no equipment to set up and it really is so accessible. It is great to see the Daily Mile in action at Groomsport Playgroup. There is a misconception that children in a playgroup setting might be too young, but the Daily Mile initiative is very successfully championed here at Groomsport.”

Jayne said that the Daily Mile encourages and makes a “great social impact.” “The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for physical activity for the under five age group is 180 minutes spread throughout the day. The Daily Mile is a great way to start physical activity and is very much connected to fun in the fresh air!”

Schools who are interested in finding out more information or registering for ‘The Daily Mile’ can contact Jayne McKillen by email: Jayne.mckillen@setrust.hscni.net or visit https://thedailymile.co.uk/