St. Brendan’s National School, Blennerville – Tralee, Co.Kerry
Address: Blennerville, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Rep. of Ireland.
Contact name: Terry O’Sullivan, Principal
Telephone: 066 7120207
Email: [email protected]
Our Experience of The Daily Mile
We began the Daily Mile in our school on 09/10/2017
Our school is a brand new building, in the picturesque village of Blennerville, which we moved into in January 2016. It is on the Dingle peninsula, in the south-west of Ireland, and we have a beautiful sea-view. It was worth the wait for our new building. We now have an indoor PE hall and an outdoor basketball court, things we do not take for granted, having been in a very cramped building and water-logged yard prior to 2016.
181 out of 181 children take part in the Daily Mile. Like all schools, we have children with medical needs, from diabetes to asthma to hemophilia, but they all make an effort to complete the mile every day.
Our 5th class teacher Mrs Moynihan measured the distance around our school building with a trundlewheel prior to starting the Daily Mile, and worked out, during a maths lesson with her class, that 7 circuits around the school was equal to one exact mile. This was just one of the links we made with the Daily Mile and our school curriculum.
Each classroom was allocated a 15 minute slot during the school day, either first thing in the morning, or either side of break times, so there is never a huge group out running. Children are told which direction they should run in, and we change this from day to day, just to spice things up! Children line up when they are done, in their líne, and after a final head-count, go back into class for much needed hydration
We have had such a positive experience with this Daily Mile initiative. Children ask eagerly: “When are we doing the Daily Mile?” and never allow the teacher to forget. It can be a welcome bit of fresh air after hard work, and can simply clear your head of the cobwebs.
We made up a motto “A Daily Mile will make you smile” believing that it lifts the mood of the children and teachers. Children who usually are reserved in class have surprised teachers with chat on this informal jog and you wouldn’t believe the amount of children that have learned how to tell time, by simply waiting for their daily 15 minutes of running to arrive. Senior Infants have been known to remind their teacher at 12:15pm- “Teacher! It’s time for the Daily Mile!” There have been days where the weather has been unkind, but we just zip up our coats and get on with it! During stormy weather alright, we put down four cones in the school hall, and ran circuits in there instead, as the children simply didn’t want to miss their daily running slots.
A child from 4th class, Gráinne, who is a member of our Health Promoting School committee was assigned the important job of changing the date and distance ran every day on a noticeboard we have at the school entrance. To date we have run 93 miles. We marked milestones such as: We have run as far as Killarney! We have run a marathon! We have run as far as Limerick! It’s great to see such positive statements and children are encouraged by all this positivity. At 100 miles, the entire school is going to awarded an ‘Off homework’ night.
Benefits we’ve noticed
Since starting The Daily Mile, we have noticed a very positive effect on children’s learning, concentration, focus, especially when run first thing in the morning surprisingly. When asked what your favourite thing at school is, children agreed it was the Daily Mile.
We do believe it has helped with better behavior and mood. It has given our older classes the confidence to enter a cross country running event, something we hadn’t tried before this year.
Children’s fitness has certainly improved. Children who had to walk the mile last October, are now jogging it with ease.
We would recommend, for schools getting started with the Daily Mile, to begin with jogging 2 laps of the school, followed by 3 that next day. We found that walking one and jogging one was also a great tip, as younger children have a tendency to go hell for leather and run until they get exhausted. A jogging pace is encouraged for this. It is safer and healthier. We would recommend that you let parents know the importance of good running shoes, properly tied, to be worn every day with the uniform, and a waterproof coat. We found also that children drank a lot more water after the Daily Mile, so increase the quantity given in drink beakers.
We have a page on our school website dedicated to all things sporty called our Active HPS page. We post photographs monthly of class winners of the Runner of the Month on this page: http://www.blennervillens.ie/pages/active-hps.php
One terrific runner in Senior Infants even pulls up his pants to his knees so his uniform will look like real runner’s shorts!
I can say with confidence that for Blennerville school, there is no going back. We tried this as a pilot school and have embraced it wholeheartedly. The Daily Mile is here to stay. It’s a winner!