Ten years on… Kilometre Club’s active kids are happy kidsJan 18, 2024
A school-based run club initiated by Hastings Public School in Port Macquarie in 2014 is clocking up a ten-year milestone helping children get fit, and they are loving it.
Kilometre (KM) Club, supported by the Health Promotion team at Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) since 2019, is a physical activity program that provides children with the opportunity to run, walk or jog on a regular basis each week.
The flexible and adaptable program is proving to be a huge hit with youngsters, parents and teachers – so much so that it now runs in 31 schools across the state.
Mid North Coast Local Health District Health Promotion Coordinator Teisha Schimer said KM Club is an example of how successful a health promotion campaign can be when it is driven from a need in the community.
“KM Club is a true grass roots, organic health promotion initiative started by Deb Baker, the then Deputy Principal at Hastings Public School. When our Health Promotion team found out about how much the kids were enjoying the activities in the program, we reached out to the school to see how we could support, capture and grow the program,” Ms Schimer said.
The MNCLHD Health Promotion team completed an evaluation in four schools which were running the program. The aim was to understand more about the program and capture its benefits.
The evaluation showed that teachers, students and carers reported a variety of health, wellbeing and educational benefits for the students. There was also an increase in students’ physical activity levels at two of the three schools that participated in the data collection.
“One of the main benefits of the club is the social connectedness and community involvement. You’ve got parents, teachers and kids all chatting to each other. Some of the parents even go for a jog as well.”
The study also showed the flexible delivery of the program was crucial to its success, as well as the program being accessible, free, low-resource and inclusive for all students
“The structure is completely flexible. Each school changes the program to suit its students, running it before, during or after school. Students can walk, jog or run making it inclusive to all participants. Using a map of Australia, they move around a designated track, logging their steps as they run around the country, stamping their card when they reach milestones,” Ms Schirmer said.
“Each school runs the program for at least two terms of the year, with the whole school and community involved.
Following the evaluation, the MNCLHD Health Promotion joined forces with Lachlan Milne, a teacher from Kendall Public School, to develop program resources and host online workshops with other schools state-wide. After this, interest in the program grew exponentially.
For further information about KM Club, contact Teisha Schimer on 0403 201 940 to register your interest.