Thursday, 14 July 2011

Top Marks for Local School Playgrounds


Above: Nettleham Infants School
pupils play in the palyground
The Lincolshire Echo is today reporting that around the county school playgrounds are getting a facelift in a bid to encourage children to do more outdoor exercise. Approximately eoghty primary schools took part in a pilot project funded by Lincolnshire County Council where different activity zones were marked out in paint on playgrounds.

The markings are similar to the traditional painted spirals, hopscotch and other shapes that older generations fondly remember being on school yards, with the addition of number and alphabet grids to help with maths and language skills.


One school that took part in the pilot was Nettleham Infants School. Headteacher Mrs. Nicola Driffill said to the paper:
"After we had the activity markings installed, we were trained on how to use them from the local authority as part of the installation.

"That was really useful because all staff got trained on it.

"But then we took it further because we got training from the outdoor learning scheme about how to use it in other ways and not just for PE

"The old markings were very closed in what you could do. These are much more open-ended, you can use them for lots of different things.

"It makes it much more worthwhile for the kids to think that they can actually make up their own ideas as well. They enjoy that a lot."
The scheme will be rolled out across Lincolnshire as a result of the successful pilot. The drive to make young people more active is in line with new Government guidelines that say 5 to 18-year-olds should get a minimum of one hour of exercise a day.

It is hoped the changes to playground activities will help more children reach this target.

Cllr. Mrs. Patricia Bradwell said: "
The scheme has been recognised nationally for the contribution it makes in reducing childhood obesity through physical activity.

"It's not about forcing children into competitive sport that they don't want to do, but helping them enjoy fun activities with friends and classmates.

"If it encourages more young people to exercise, then it's got to be a good thing."
NHS Lincolnshire has been involved with the scheme and it is hoped there will be long-term health improvements across the county. Mr. John McIvor, Chief Executive of NHS Lincolnshire, said:
"Increasing activities is just one of the ways we are working with partners to reduce obesity levels and improve health."

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