The Daily Mile's goal is to improve every child’s physical, social, and mental health. All children, regardless of age, ability, or personal circumstances, can experience the benefits of The Daily Mile.
The Program Director for The Daily Mile-USA is Bill Russell. He is part of a team promoting physical activity for youth here and abroad. In 2012, a Principal from Scotland encouraged a class of students to walk, jog, run, or roll for 15 minutes every day. Almost immediately, they felt the benefits. Improved physical and mental health translated into better classroom learning.
Fast forward, and The Daily Mile is now making an impact in 94 countries. Today, over 4 million children take part in this initiative.
Russell did not begin his career with The Daily Mile. He spent 20 years as a teacher and administrator. When this initiative was brought to Russell’s attention, he decided to change his career path.
"When the Daily Mile appeared on my desk, I looked at it as a movement. I thought teachers might value the simplicity. It could help kids for a lifetime and it’s free.” Russell said. “I was like, ‘All right, let's see what this can do’.”
The Daily Mile is "not a running program." Russell says. "It's a people program on the move." This initiative gets kids to walk, run, jog, or roll for 15 minutes while they socialize and connect with others. They have fun while they get healthier. Global and at-home research from The University of Florida say it has positive health outcomes.
Physical activity has proven to connect the mind and body. The social aspect of The Daily Mile has students and teachers feeling connected. Those positive relationships take learning to new heights. This program can be transformational for all students. Teachers and administrators across the world are loving the whole child health benefits.
The Daily Mile-USA values the whole child and every child's success. The development of the student-teacher relationship improves student behavioral patterns and the learning environment. The Daily Mile is a positive lifestyle habit that can be carried beyond the classroom. A critical aspect that most schools value in this initiative is the level of safety it offers. Schools are embracing The Daily Mile as a Tier 1 / Universal intervention. Knowing what kids need is vital to help them to learn. Efficient distribution of support can change outcomes for students.
"We can't help what we don't know,” Russell said. “The Daily Mile gets people together. It allows children to feel successful with their peers and their teachers. Over time they develop trust in each other. Then, we can make sure that needs are being met so learning can become the priority.”
All this to say, teachers have one of the most challenging jobs in the world. High-stakes accountability tests seem to be here to stay. They are being asked to do more with less. And, teachers' criticism will not go away. The teacher shortage is real. One way to help is to unite around this movement. The learning community gets a proven tool that helps teachers and students, and they see improvement in and out of the classroom.
"Take your teacher hat off for 15 minutes and enjoy the kids you teach," Russell said. The Daily Mile is an opportunity for teachers to remember their why. The movement makes people happy and healthy.
The Daily Mile continues to welcome all to the Move to Movement. Get a classroom, whole school, or entire district moving today! For more information about The Daily Mile-USA, visit the website here.
Photo credits: Courtesy of William Russell