What is the Healthy Heart Project?
Our Healthy Heart Project
Happy heart = Happy child = Happy future
The project goes beyond trying to combat physiological health issues and tries to develop a well-rounded meaning of health. SJB prides itself on being a happy and caring school and children are at the front of everything that we do. We aim to provide children, staff and parents with the best opportunities to lead a happy and healthy life. Needs of children are catered for and all opportunities are inclusive. The project aims to unite the whole school together and will be delivered by staff that is empowering our children not only through their knowledge and care but through their love and passion for sport, health and life.
OHH is a project which is an extension of the learning that takes place in the classroom which aims to create an environment for success. Children can build a solid foundation and are given every opportunity possible so they are prepared for life after SJB.
After parental consent, we got both children and staff to complete a wellbeing questionnaire where participants had to answer a series of questions relating to their own perceptions of health, wellbeing and happiness.
A health screening process followed which included a range of fitness tests to gain scores of cardiovascular, strength and agility values of the children. Then BMI scores were taken of the children (all data collected is kept confidential).
The results were analysed which allowed for us to group children accordingly to meet their needs. We took a combination of the data and our professional judgement and knowledge of the children to format them into the different intervention groups. Groups varied in size and each had a different aim. Group topics are listed below:
- General health- sessions which involved a range of fitness based activities
- Multi-sports- sessions where children got to experience different sports and were able to participate more
- Teamwork and friendship group- sessions developing and using teamwork, trust and friendship in order to complete tasks
- Wellbeing group- sessions where children could openly speak about issues whist in a safe and fun environment so they didn’t feel under pressure
- Cross-curricular- sessions where children could improve their classwork whilst engaged in fun and active activities
- Able, gifted and talented- sessions where children could be challenged
These intervention classes took place and the school games values underpinned the session. Reviews took place at the end of each half term and groups were tweaked and session focus was modified accordingly. Meetings with staff, including the SENDCO lead allowed for feedback and findings to be shared. This process was the same throughout the year and retesting took place at the end of each term and results again analysed and compared against the initial testing.
Overall, the project went well and children enjoyed taking part. After analysing and comparing results, it was evident that the OHH project had a positive impact on the children. There was an improvement of 23.4% on the fitness test scores, a significant improvement from the initial batch of tests. This improvement is essential for the health and wellbeing of our children and a great start to the project. Improved fitness throughout children has a direct effect on the health and wellbeing of children.
BMI scores were reduced by an average of 9.1%, again demonstrating a significant difference. This means more children now lie between the healthy BMI values for which is essential for their health and provides them with a better platform for healthier development.
Due to the nature of the project, it has been accessible and inclusive to all children which have allowed new friendships to blossom. It has brought together groups of children who would normally not work together. This has increased bonding between different groups of children and different year groups and classes. Improved social skills and supporting each other to move forward together in the same direction has been a result of this.
Answers from the questionnaires indicated that more children perceive themselves as a more confident, sociable and happy member of the school. This has helped children positively engage more in lessons, an increase in participation in both sports clubs and classroom based activities and an improvement in behaviour across the school.
The increase in participation of sport has seen an oversubscription of extracurricular sports clubs. Children’s knowledge of how to lead an active and healthy lifestyle has improved as they are now starting to make healthier choices. Self-esteem and confidence appears to have increased as children can now lead activities, communicate more effectively with each other and are willing to try new things. Lots of children have represented in a range of sporting events and we have enjoyed lots of success. A group participated in a talent show and performed their skills to an audience of 600 people.
In its first year, the project has seen lots of positive changes and intends to grow and develop. Regular reviews mean that the project has the ability to change and adapt to meet the needs of the current children in school. As children develop so do their needs and the project has the capability to change in order to meet their needs.
As the project grows and develops there will be more involvement from parents to enable further progressions and improvements to be made. Parental influences are a key part for the project to really focus on the needs of each child. School and parent relationships are key to ensure the project work to its full potential.
A recently installed section on the school’s website will give parents access to keep up to date with how their children and getting on and a place for them to feedback about the project. The website will offer help and guidance for parents so they can follow on the work the project is doing outside school.
Having OHH council reps means that there will be a children’s voice so they can help expand and improve the project. Having a strong staff network including the family support worker, play therapist, behaviour mentor and lunchtime supervisors all working together it means that the project will have an even bigger impact in the future. This network of staff all working together with the same aim will ensure that children will develop at a quicker rate.
This new way of thinking and approach to school will give a new lease of life and a fresh target for children and staff to focus on. The project will continue to be delivered through the school games values which are learnt through sport but can be applied in all aspects of school life. We are excited to see how the project will develop in the future.
The nature of the project is sustainable because it is working off the resources the school has combined with the extra support from the funding. With consistency throughout the school, shared workload from staff and the continued funding will ensure this project is and will be a long term initiative. We are proud of the project and are excited to see the long term impacts.