Growing a healthy heart
As we begin Pilgrims’ Healthy Heart Fortnight, headteacher, Mrs Webster discusses why teaching pupils how to keep their hearts healthy is so important, even at the earliest age.
A recent study by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) revealed that around 30% of children in the UK are overweight. This is a result of several factors, but as part of the government’s scheme to significantly reduce child obesity levels over the next few years, the emphasis on healthy living and promoting sport in schools has increased.
As Pilgrims’ pupils are aged between three months and seven years, it is important to ensure that they are receiving the correct nutrition and exercise to be healthy. The children are at very important stages of their growth so, alongside the curriculum, teaching our pupils about how to lead a healthy lifestyle is at the forefront of what we do throughout the year. Healthy Heart Fortnight allows us to focus on this even more and we’re excited for what’s to come over the next few weeks.
What is Healthy Heart Fortnight?
Healthy Heart Fortnight is something we created and take part in every year here at Pilgrims. This year the children are taking part in a range of sporting activities such as ‘Kick Box’, yoga sessions, and even ‘Rugby Tots’ for the really little ones. We have even held a ‘what’s your favourite healthy recipe’ competition, with the winning recipes forming part of the lunch menu!
Our annual Sports Day will also be taking place at the end of Healthy Heart Fortnight on 5 July. Pupils from the age of 2 will be competing in a series of races, while their parents are invited to cheer them on from the sideline.
The importance of physical education
A survey by Sport England revealed that 32.9% of children and young people in the UK participate in less than 30 minutes worth of exercise each day.
Physical activity is so important in the first 10 years of a child’s life, not least because the more sport they participate in when they are younger, the more likely they will continue as they get older.
Pilgrims’ pupils are given the opportunity to learn different sports and discover which ones they are good at and most importantly, the ones they enjoy most.
During the summer months the children take part in a wide range of outdoor sporting activities ahead of sports day. This includes regular inter-school activities and events such as tennis and mini-cricket tournaments, competing with pupils from other schools.
Eating and nutrition
Another shocking statistic is that only one in six children are consuming the recommended five portions of fruit and veg each day in England and Scotland.
In order to ensure that our pupils get as much fruit and veg as possible during the school day, our catering team is constantly working to develop the school menus.
All meals are prepared from scratch each day and the team regularly substitute foods with healthier ingredients and use herbs and seasoning for flavouring to reduce the children’s salt intake.
Mrs Bhogal and her catering team will also be holding their famous ‘healthy food taster day’ during Healthy Heart Fortnight, to encourage the children to try some different types of fruit and vegetables.
Working with other schools in the Harpur Trust, our aim is to give our pupils the best start in life by teaching them all they need to know about leading a healthy lifestyle, so that they can continue to do so as they grow older.