At Dartford Primary Academy we believe leading a healthy active lifestyle is imperative for our pupils. Physical activity and good nutrition helps children: achieve a healthy body weight, build strong bones, muscles and joints and develop fundamental movement skills. As well as caring for their education we also care for their mental health and wellbeing and feel that it is essential to provide children with information to enable them to make life long, well informed decisions about their diet and health.
We recognise the connection between a pupil’s ability to learn effectively and achieve high standards in school – well nourished pupils are more receptive to teaching and will learn better. Healthy eating habits learnt during childhood are usually continued throughout life and these healthy behaviours can help reduce the risk of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, iron deficiency, heart disease and some cancers. It is important that at school, they have every opportunity to access healthy food and to learn in an environment that supports healthy eating.
EVEN MORE reasons for leading a healthy active lifestyle:
- Reduces the risk of mental health problems, such as, anxiety, depression and stress
- Boosts brain stimulation to improve concentration and memory
- Improves mood, due to release of Endorphins
- Improves posture
- Helps achieve and maintain healthy teeth
- Greater self-esteem and body confidence
- Aids towards healthy skin and hair
How do we promote a Healthy Active Lifestyle for our children?
- PE is timetabled so that each year group in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 get two hours a week.
- Activities at lunch time are led by Sports Leaders.
- We run a breakfast club where we offer a healthy breakfast.
- Healthy nutrition is incorporated into our curriculum through design technology, science and PSHE.
- Health Education is embedded into the children’s curriculum from Nursery right through to Year 6, to help children make good choices.
- A healthy packed lunch guide is in place, to ensure children are getting a nutritious lunch.
- Olive Dining provide healthy school meals with vegetarian options.
- Active lessons to keep the brain stimulated, which is proven to boost brain productivity.
- Assemblies take place in school, to educate children about nutrition, sleep and physical activity.
- We offer a range of after school clubs that promote fitness and/or mental health and wellbeing.
- Nursery and Reception pupils spend a lot of their day learning outside and getting physical.
How can children lead a healthy active lifestyle?
Leading a healthy, active lifestyle from a young age and creating good habits is essential. This will set the foundations that each child will take into their adult life. Parents and carers have the responsibility to be good role models and have a positive attitude to being active and eating healthily.
There are simple ways for children, families, parents and carers to lead a healthy, active lifestyle:
- 60 MINUTES ACTIVITY each day – participating in moderate to vigorous exercise that makes you ‘huff and puff’.
- CHOOSE WATER – this helps quench thirst, transports vitamins and minerals around your body. Water has no added sugar and it also boosts your metabolism.
- EAT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES – these are the main source of vitamins and minerals to boost vitality and reduce the risk of disease. It is recommended to have fruit and vegetables as a convenient snack, rather than processed, high sugar, high fat snacks.
SWITCH OFF THE SCREEN AND GET ACTIVE! Sedentary time spent watching TV, playing computer games or using devices is linked to children becoming overweight, obese and developing mental health problems. Encourage children to be active and social in order to change habits and behaviours to benefit the child.
Extra curricular activities
We strive to foster healthy living and eating habits in all pupils from an early age in order to develop healthy lifestyles for life. One of the ways our school promotes physical and mental health is through our afterschool clubs such as the gardening, mindfulness and cooking clubs.
In our cooking club, pupils learn about the importance of selecting healthy ingredients, developing good eating habits, using healthier cooking methods and therefore become more aware of different lifestyle choices and the effect they have on mental and physical health. We discuss healthier alternatives and learn about balancing menus and diets.
We believe that giving children the knowledge and the means to become independent, healthy cooks allows them to become balanced, healthy individuals, able to make informed decisions about their lives, now and in the future.
In the mindfulness club, we learn about looking after our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us. Each session starts and ends with a mindful breathing exercise to help us stay calm. We learn how to express our feelings, how to have a growth mindset and celebrate what makes each of us individual. We complete different activities every week and learn skills that the children are able to use to help them stay mindful.
Gardening club is for children who really enjoy planting, looking after and harvesting their own vegetables. Last year we grew potatoes, broad beans, runner beans, corn on the cob, beetroot and tomatoes and hope to do just as well this year! This year we hope to have raised beds which we can fill with lots of plants and herbs for the gardening club children help to look after.