PRIMARY school children in Essex are working on their health and fitness, thanks to a £3,000 investment in gym equipment at their school.
The five primary schools within BMAT include:
Cooks Spinney Primary Academy, Freshwaters Primary Academy, Little Parndon Primary Academy and Roydon Primary Academy in Harlow and Magna Carta Primary Academy in Stansted.
Each had an investment of £3,000 Sport Premium Grant in new outdoor facilities.
This new gym equipment will now enable pupils to do pull-ups, sit-ups, bench dips and abdominal workouts. Classes can also complete circuits together and in future host after-school fitness clubs.
The equipment also provides improvement on building balance, co-ordination and agility; increasing muscle and bone strength; improving motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination; and encouraging communication and collaboration.
The schools had a Daily Mile track installed last year to encourage children to include exercise as part of their routines.
Phil Dawes, BMAT director of PE and sport, said:
“After we had the Daily Mile tracks installed, we noted an improvement in children’s cardiovascular fitness levels. We are definitely seeing the benefits that brings. Building on that, we wanted to focus on their muscle strength and endurance.
“This type of exercise is important for all-round general health and fitness. Now is the time to focus on getting children fit and strong and to build habits to last them throughout life.
“We are trying to ensure everyone engages in PE. Some like team sports, but for others it will be the gym that becomes their form of exercise for life. This is good preparation for that.”
The staff at the primary schools are impressed with the new addition; with the equipment seeking popular use in lunchtimes and PE lessons with the children, the main goal being to encourage health.
Anna Myatt, head of school at Roydon Primary, said:
“The children love to use it and we have seen their confidence grow as they develop flexibility, strength and balance.
“As well as educating our children about healthy eating, we must find ways to ensure children enjoy physical activity and view exercise as part of their everyday life. The school environment is well placed to help children to achieve a minimum of 30 minutes’ exercise per day through the daily mile and the gym trail.”
Monica Jordan, PE teacher at Cooks Spinney, said: “We are delighted to have a new outdoor gym.
“Pupils will be shown how to use the equipment correctly to get fitter and learn about the different muscles in their bodies. We will be talking about why it’s important to eat healthily to build muscle mass and why it’s good to keep a good balanced diet.”
“In the current pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get outdoors to get some vitamin D in the sunshine to give your mental health a boost, as well as getting exercise in the fresh air to boost your immune system.”
The BMAT schools bring in trainers each term to carry out fitness tests to monitor the progress being made.
Our photo shows Cooks Spinney Primary Academy’snew outdoor gym equipment.