EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY TO DISCOVER THE JOY OF MOVEMENT

Inner city London school benefits from an outdoor industry grant to research children’s activity habits,
and triples World Health Organization recommendations

In a break with tradition, Rosendale Primary School in Lambeth has been encouraging its early years pupils to be more active by embracing technology.

Thanks to a €5,000 grant from the It’s Great Out There Coalition, Finnish children’s wear brand, Reima, provided 85 of their innovative ReimaGO activity trackers for the School’s children to wear over the summer half term.

According to the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, children should do at least one hour of physical activity a day. Yet the latest Change4Life data shows just 23 per cent of boys and 20 per cent of girls meet this target. Furthermore, one in five children now start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they leave.

Results from the Rosendale School study reveal that – when wearing the activity tracker for a full school day – the children were active for an average of 2 hours and 50 minutes. Their most active time was between 12 noon and 1pm and the highest daily level they reached was 4 and a quarter hours towards the end of the study.

Mikko Linnaluoma, ReimaGO’s Programme Manager says,

“Reima believes in an active childhood that matters. In discovering a joy of movement that will stick with children for the rest of their lives. In Finland, exercise-orientated education is an integral part of the National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and a combination of at least three hours of light exercise, brisk outdoor activity and fast physical activity is recommended.”

The Rosendale project follows a similar pilot study conducted by ReimaGO at Hafren Junior School in Powys, Wales last year in which 70 children from Years 5 and 6 wore the trackers both at school and at home over a period of six weeks. Children here averaged 22 hours of activity each week, or four hours a day.

ReimaGO now hopes to work with more primary schools across the UK. The trackers provided to Rosendale School will remain with the School – a prerequisite of the #itsgreatoutthere grant – for future Year 1 and 2 children to take advantage of.

The ReimaGO tracker is a wearable movement sensor able to track the duration and intensity of physical activity. The durable, waterproof sensor is placed in a pocket or on a wrist band. The collated data is turned into ‘energy’ for a virtual character in a mobile app which parents and teachers can download onto their mobile phone or tablet. They can then follow their children’s activity levels, keep an activity log and set goals.

Andrew Denton, Secretary General of the It’s Great Out There Coalition, comments:

“We were really excited about supporting this project with an #itsgreatoutthere grant. The work that Rosendale Primary School and ReimaGO have been doing together not only meets one of our key objectives of getting more young people active outdoors, but it is also delivering some great empirical evidence of the positive impact that initiatives like this can have. This is really valuable and we can use it to help persuade policy makers that they should be focusing resources on the outdoors as part of wider efforts to combat the inactivity epidemic.”

Mikko Linnaluoma continues,

“We are incredibly grateful to the It’s Great Out There Coalition for this grant to enable us to work with Rosendale School. ReimaGO isn’t about monitoring heart rate or calorie counting; it’s about encouraging an active lifestyle from an early age. We can’t stop children being interested in technology. But we can encourage its use for the right, healthy reasons. By linking outdoor activity to a mobile app, children respond well. We’re incredibly encouraged by these results.”

Head of Physical Activity and Sport at Rosendale School, Doug Cranston, who lead the project says,

“I have been so surprised at just how responsive the children have been to this study. They’ve been very excited to be part of something. We now have empirical data on its effectiveness and going forwards hope to build on this with future year groups.”

Teacher, Jo Stainton says,

“I have worked with kids who are unhappy, unhealthy, aren’t engaged in their learning and the difference when kids are active is huge. You do get so much more out of them. They’re much more responsive, they are interested and they are happy and obviously that’s the most important part of it.”

Mum to Aimee, one of the children who took part in the study, Tonie Healy, says,

“We now try and do more together, to work together as a family. To become a bit more healthy. They enjoy being able to work for something and the more they exercise the more levels they build in the game. It makes them enjoy things more.”

A video of the Rosendale School Project has been produced and is available to view and embed here https://youtu.be/J0FnWv1CP24 and a shorter version here https://youtu.be/EMB3q_W7z60.

You are welcome to use this video within any content you produce regarding this story. Social media handles include @Reima_Official, @greatoutthere and @SpringPROutdoor.

For press enquiries, interview opportunities please telephone Spring PR on 01666 824180 or Rosendale Primary School on 0208 6704962.