“Active Schools aims to ensure that all Victorian students have the skills, confidence and motivation to be active for life.”
The recent Victorian Government announcement of $24.2 million in funding for their Active Schools initiative is a welcome investment in the current and future wellbeing of young people which recognises the need for physical activity to be considered beyond the scope of organised community sport.
As the Active Schools ministerial statement outlines, physical activity is an essential component of student development. Physical activity is proven to improve academic performance, student concentration and problem-solving abilities. The statement is entirely correct in its assertion that addressing the growing problem of physical activity cannot be localised in one aspect of schooling - it requires a multifaceted effort across our education system to help students develop physical activity practices as part of their daily lives. Additionally, studies have shown that physical activity is extremely beneficial to general wellbeing and quality of life in adolescents – increasing physical, social and mental wellbeing and addressing the symptoms of depression and anxiety (Eddolls et. al, 2018).
Addressing the general wellbeing of our students is more important now than ever. A report by Mission Australia and the Black Dog institute revealed that in 2018, 24.2% of students experienced mental distress – an increase of 5.5% in seven years (Mission Australia, 2019). Unfortunately, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown conditions are predicted to have further consequences for the mental health of our students. It is very fortunate that the Victorian Government has had the foresight to address this issue, investing in the promotion of healthy lifelong exercise habits and teaching the importance of being active.
Champion Life. Supporting active classrooms, every day.
Champion Life helps schools strengthen the physical and mental wellbeing of students by combining movement, mentoring and monitoring through one easy to implement online program.
Through the intentional inclusion of movement into daily life, students can see the benefits of physical activity on their academic performance and mood, helping to solidify habits which extend throughout schooling and later life. It was Champion Life’s identification of the activity gap within our classrooms that led to our development of Body Sets.
Our Body Sets are short, guided video movement activities which are delivered by a diverse team of active role models. These role models act as virtual mentors to encourage and support students each day. Champion Life role models are from a wide variety of backgrounds however all value the importance of regular physical activity to their wellbeing. In addition to providing a specifically tailored movement activity, our role models deliver a variety of short tips on physical and mental wellbeing. Body Sets are designed for seamless integration into the classroom and feature a multitude of fun and engaging activities delivered in less than 5 minutes!
In addition to Body Sets, our platform features our Wellbeing Monitor - before undertaking one of our Champion Life activities, students are asked to nominate how they are feeling on a simple 1-5 scale. Choices range from “really sad” to “very happy” and are represented by emojis to help make the check-in process as intuitive as possible. Upon completing their activity, students are once again asked to check in with the Wellbeing Monitor. By collating the data from these check-ins, Champion Life has been able to determine that, on average, 82% of students feel better after completing their Champion Life activity. By checking in immediately after their Body Set, students are able to observe the benefits of physical activity themselves, encouraging them to implement lifelong activity practices. Student wellbeing thrives in a supportive school environment, but Champion Life received extensive teacher feedback that staying on top of the mental wellbeing of students in addition to their other responsibilities sometimes proved difficult. Champion Life therefore created the Wellbeing Monitor teacher portal, which alerts teachers to students who are “checking in” with lower than average mood reporting, or experience a sudden drop in mood.
If you’re interested in supporting physical and mental wellbeing through the Active Schools program, reach out to our director of partnerships Tim Mahony via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d also like to extend access to our trial program to Victorian schools, sign up below for 4 weeks of access to Champion Life or visit https://championlife.com.au/free-trial
William T. B. Eddolls, Melitta A. McNarry, Leanne Lester, Charles O. N. Winn, Gareth Stratton & Kelly A. Mackintosh (2018), ‘The association between physical activity, fitness and body mass index on mental well-being and quality of life in adolescents’, Quality of Life Research, volume 27, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-018-1915-3
Mission Australia (2019), ‘Can we talk? Seven year youth mental health report - 2012-2018’, Mission Australia, https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/publications/youth-survey/1318-can-w...