As a mum of two primary aged children I am very familiar with the huge childhood obesity crisis we are currently facing, not only in the UK but across the world.
Most parents know that all children are weighed in reception when they start school and then in year 6 to see if the statistics from when the children first started the school have improved or got considerably worse. Currently there is no real intervention programme in schools. Some schools take part in daily tasks of running around the playground for 15 minutes or so, as a way to show they are becoming more active, which is great but how long will this be kept up for? When its icy, wet or cold outside, the last thing children are going to want to do is run around and I am sure for both teachers and pupils this can be very demotivating.
When we (The Hug Group team) sat down together and threw some ideas out to tackle childhood obesity and ways we could create an intervention programme, we took everything from a teachers and child’s perspective into account to ensure our programme was fully inclusive for EVERY child, yet not distracting or too much hard work for teachers.
There has been numerous studies on pedometer based activity in schools which has proven to increase activity by at least 20%. There is currently a variety of smart watches, high end pedometers as well as basic pedometers on the market these days but these generally have a display screen which can be very distracting in lessons and some have proven to be very expensive which isn’t cost effective with the current school budgets.
Our award-winning StepITS activity monitors have no display/sounds or vibrations, meaning no distractions for teachers. My favourite feature is our challenges selection (Which a lot of teachers at The Bett Show were very impressed to see!) I mean, being able to set a challenge as a class based on the current topic you are studying for example; ‘100 laps of the Roman Colosseum’ to give children an indication of how large it is, is pretty impressive right?! StepITS then automatically uploads the data taken per class (Not per individual children) meaning no extra work for teachers (They have enough work to do, let alone collecting data!) this will then show on the daily, weekly and termly leader board so the children in each class can see where they are compared to the rest of the schools classes. This then gives encouragement to the less active children to work together with their classmates to beat “Class 2” in this week’s challenge! StepITS records activity levels to show how many steps it has taken as a class effort to complete that challenge which is already preloaded on to a certificate with the children’s names ready to take home as a discussion point with parents who can then scan our QR code and gain more information based on the topic that children are learning about.
Lastly, when it comes to your upcoming OFSTED inspection you won’t need to take a survey from the children to see if they think they are more active. You can prepare for this by simply printing off your data dashboard which will show quantitative proof and a heat map of how active your children have been not just at playtime but also during lessons! What could be better for you to spend your sports premium this year other than StepITS!