Healthy adventure benefit for pupils

Bad cases of "3pm-itis" appear to be dwindling among Fairfield School pupils since they started a new programme, aimed at instilling lifelong healthy habits.

Children often become tired and irritable near the end of each school day.

The Zespri Young and Healthy Virtual Adventure programme is changing that by encouraging pupils and their families to eat better, exercise more and lead more environmentally conscious lives.

By doing so, they can earn points in a virtual adventure course online, which takes them on a journey around the world.

It is led by inspirational sports ambassadors, including rugby player Ardie Savea, netballer Shannon Saunders, cricketer Kane Williamson and hockey player Samantha Charlton.

They help teach participants about each place they visit, and share healthy tips along the way.

Programme founder Kim Harvey said it was helping more than 60,000 pupils around New Zealand to get back to routines that develop good physical and mental health, after so much disruption from Covid-19 this year.

"The children themselves have told us that they feel better, and are more able to learn every day as a result of taking part in the programme.

"Research shows that the foundations of good health as adults are formed in the first 10 years of a child’s life, so it’s critical we find all the ways we can to engage children to understand and actually notice what it feels like when they make healthy choices."

Fairfield School pupils play a game of Simon Says with Silver Fern netballer Shannon Saunders, as...
Fairfield School pupils play a game of Simon Says with Silver Fern netballer Shannon Saunders, as part of the Young and Healthy Adventure programme. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN


Fairfield School programme co-ordinator Aimee Preedy said it had certainly helped to keep pupils focused and engaged in their class work.

"It’s helping to combat cases of 3pm-itis.

"Within our classrooms, it has also brought the pupils closer together as teams.

"Within their teams they work super hard to record their steps and follow the steps on the internet with some of the ambassadors that take them on their journey across different countries."

For completing "a staggering number" of healthy challenges in the programme, Fairfield School pupils were treated to a surprise visit by Silver Fern netballer Shannon Saunders yesterday.

She delivered healthy treats and completed some fun drills with the pupils.

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