Johnny Sexton is greeted by a group of flag waving children in Scoil Maelruain, Tallaght.
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Super Troopers with Laya Healthcare - Ireland's First Ever Health Homework Programme

Pen Selda Simsek Glasses 5 min read

Super Troopers with laya healthcare is the first ever health homework programme in Ireland. It encourages children and their families to become more active and learn about healthy lifestyles in a fun and interactive way.

Laya Healthcare got involved in the programme because we wanted to instil healthy habits in children of a young age, with a view to developing positive habits for life. The programme includes short burst, fun activities and is focused on three core pillars – mental wellbeing, physical activity, and nutrition. 

We’re so proud of the success of the Super Troopers programme, which began as a pilot with 330 schools four years ago, and has now grown to over 1,500 schools, which is almost half the schools across the country. There are 240,000 school kids and 162,000 families currently participating, which is phenomenal to see. 

Mindfulness is a key part of the Super Troopers programme, with research revealing huge support among parents;

  • 80 per cent of Irish parents would welcome mindfulness exercises being introduced as a routine part of the school day.
  • One in five (19 per cent) young primary school children in Ireland experience general anxiety.
  • One in four (23 per cent) young primary school children experience ‘low moods’.

 

Super Troopers offers tools and exercises for teachers and parents to be able to teach children how to deal with complex emotions in a healthy way.

Wellness expert Ann-Marie Ireland, who authored the mindfulness exercises used in Super Troopers, says that mindfulness can successfully address anxiety and behavioural issues, “Spending just a few minutes each day on simple mindfulness exercises can positively transform children, allowing them space and time to be calm, quiet and to be ‘present in the moment’. 

 

Other key research findings by Super Troopers with laya healthcare include:

  • 76 per cent of parents think health homework should be made a compulsory part of the primary school curriculum, giving physical and emotional health the same priority as regular schoolwork like English and Maths.
  • Despite lots of public debate around childhood obesity, one in three (36 per cent) children at primary school level are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of moderate/vigorous physical activity each day.
  • Anxiety among primary school children peaks in fifth class with more than one in three (37 per cent) experiencing anxiety and low moods (33 per cent). This coincides with scores of self-esteem with those in third class and fifth class experiencing the lowest self-esteem (20 per cent and 18 per cent respectively).
  • Most parents (88 per cent) think the Government should give more money to primary schools to improve PE and encourage healthy lifestyles among families.
  • During the week, children spend 162 minutes (2.7 hours) a day – the equivalent of two full school days – watching screens. This jumps to 288 minutes (4.8 hours) at the weekend.

 

Recently, we brought Johnny Sexton, our new ambassador, into Scoil Maelruain in Tallaght, Dublin. Johnny took the school kids through fun physical activities, relaxing mindfulness techniques, and even stopped for a smoothie to explain the importance of nutrition. We wanted to share the day with you, so check out the below videos to see what Johnny and the kids had to say.

 

 

To find out more about Super Troopers with laya healthcare, visit www.supertroopers.ie