Model Pupils Celebrate School Grounds
03 June 2009
Pupils from Model Primary School are celebrating National School Grounds Week (8th - 12th June 2009) claiming that their school vegetable garden is one of the best ways to get them more active. The Model pupils are embracing the Change4Life theme of ‘Eat Well, Move More & Live longer’.
Nine out of 10 children today could grow up dangerously overweight, exposing themselves to life-threatening diseases like cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
A key message for the high profile Change4Life theme is that children need "60 Active Minutes" every day. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which advices the government on health issues, states that the recommended 60 minutes may be achieved through several short bursts of 10 minutes or more.
Alderman Beattie said "Carrickfergus Borough Council is an enthusiastic supporter of the outdoors as an educational environment and recognises the vital opportunities for learning and discovery offered by school grounds. School grounds give children valuable opportunities for playing and learning, and we are committed to helping schools make the most of the outdoors with our Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative 'Carrickfergus Schools Growing Clubs'. The initiative provides schools in the Borough with grants to set up or improving an existing gardening club and linking this with a healthier eating and lifestyle message to pupils."
"Carrickfergus Schools Growing Clubs gives pupils the opportunity to plan, sow, tend and harvest a range of fruits and vegetables at school. It extends pupils' understanding of food chain issues by bringing the process directly under their control. Whether the club is run as part of the formal school curriculum, or as an extra-curricular activity, it should be seen as a vital teaching and learning experience for pupils."
"The Growing Club also makes use of the school grounds, which are additional learning spaces at school. It provides an area of interest for the entire school community and can be shown to guests and visitors as a key feature of the school. In addition, it provides an ideal vehicle to promote healthier eating and drinking messages for pupils. In time, the Growing Club will also produce a number of crops which can be eaten in school, perhaps in the school tuck shop or cookery club." continued Alderman Beattie
Headmaster of Model Primary School, Mr Gary Hanley said "Education today within the bounds of the revised curriculum places upon schools the responsibility to provide learning opportunities which provide key messages for healthy living and the skills to be successful in attaining these."
"Sport is the staple provision for physical activity across schools but for those who are not keen on sport the activity of the growing club has in my experience provided an enjoyable alternative. There is an enthusiasm shown for growing club activities. Children love the idea of creating new growth and have a fascination with the earth and what they happen to turn up on their spades! Harvesting the crops is a very exciting time and to see the produce end up on their own tables and in the school canteen completes the circle for them. From there they have a beginning on which they can continue on into life." concluded Mr Hanley
Catherine Andrews, Chief Executive of Learning through Landscapes, the charity behind National School Grounds Week, says, "Whilst parents need to support their children to lead more active lifestyles, schools also have a role to play. Formal PE lessons are one answer, but they are not the only opportunity to get children on the move. Getting children more active can also make a make a major contribution to ensuring that they take their recommended daily exercise."
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