Daily Fitness

Daily Fitness is a morning exercise program which teaches the children leadership and teamwork skills. Again, the cross-age framework supports students as they develop relationships in all sectors of the school. Older students guide younger students to develop the practical skills-based and gross motor skills they need to enjoy and develop competence in sport- based activities.

Daily Fitness, Daily Fun

If you’re passing Newstead Primary School soon after 9am, any day of the week, you’ll hear dance beats and pop music, and you’ll see the younger kids at the school stretching, star jumping, jogging on the sport and, occasionally, doing the Time Warp, the Bus Stop or the Nutbush. This is Daily Fitness, NPS’s unique, morning physical activity program.

It’s fun but the intent is serious. Health statistics[1] tell us that in Australia, one in four (25%) children and adolescents (5-17 years) were either overweight or obese in 2007-08, an increase of four percentage points from 1995 (when it was 21%). This is disturbing, because these children are more likely to have health problems which can also lead to social problems such as teasing by their peers or the development of low self-esteem or body image problems. Causes of obesity in children include unhealthy food choices, lack of physical activity and family eating habits.

Primary Schools can’t influence everything in a child’s life but NPS aims to encourage healthy food choices by requesting that parents include ‘brain food’ (fruit, salad and vegetables) in lunches and also through the monthly selections of the Green Canteen. Daily Fitness aims to address the physical activity aspect of a healthier lifestyle for the children.

Daily Fitness is a morning exercise program which teaches the children leadership and teamwork skills.

The Daily Fitness routine begins at 9am. The grade Prep to 4s warm up with their stretching and dance moves, led by teachers revealing their favourite current tunes. Five groups of grade 5/6s set up separate activities and games in different areas within the school yard. The activities change every term but if there is a sports day coming up the activities may be geared towards practising for that particular day. With a T20 Cricket Day looming then cricket may be the focus. Different types of skipping are practised for Jump Rope for Heart day. Activities also hone skills for sport or simple hand-eye coordination. The activities make use of cones, hula-hoops, hurdles, balls or whatever is necessary.

Once the warmups are finished, the 5/6 leaders take their group of Prep to 4s to an activity station, and the youngsters move through each activity every five minutes or so. At about 9.30 there is a ‘cool down’ session before the kids move into their classrooms for the day’s teaching.

In addition to the exercise benefits and skills development Daily Fitness builds leadership skills in the Grade 5/6s and encourages the students to mix with and relate to peers from the different year levels. As one student says, ‘Daily Fitness gets the whole school involved. It’s fun for all!’

[1] ABS, Catalogue Number 4102.0 Australian Social Trends, September 2009. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1100.2Main+Features3Sep+2009