Over the years The Health of the Nation programme has developed through South Africa’s ever changing health landscape.
Initially the programme was a research project, which aimed to create a nationally representative database against which to measure changing norms for physical activity and physical fitness in children, or as a means of “benchmarking” implementation of successful school and community-based intervention in the form of lifestyle physical activity, school sports, and physical education.
The concept evolved to test over seventy schools and 10 500 children from various cultural and historical backgrounds across 5 Provinces between 2001 – 2005. Test results were analysed by the UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and it became obvious that South Africa is facing a huge problem with regards to getting the nation to keep active and participate in physical activity.
With these results, Sporting Chance launched the Health of the Nation: 50 hour sports challenge with the inaugural event being held in September 2006 with the objective of raising the awareness of the importance of physical activity in a child’s life. In addition, it introduces thousands of children to the benefits of physical activity and exposes them to a variety of sport codes.
In 2016 the programme expanded to launch the Disney Healthy Happy Play programme which focuses on health education within the school environment.
This year the Ascendis Health of the Nation partners with Disney Healthy Happy Play to form a hugely impactful programme reaching 40 schools and 20 000 learners in four provinces around South Africa.
In an effort to empower more schools to embed physical education into their curriculums, the programme provides fun and creative tools for educators and learners using Disney characters and stories as inspiration
In the South African educational environment there is a great need to assist educators to achieve their learning outcome objectives, by supplementing the curriculum with attractive, significant content. Interactive teaching has proven to be successful in getting learners to absorb, and retain, learning outcomes and it is on this premise that our edu-module was developed.
The programme consists of three phases and is currently being rolled out by our team of passionate and vibey coaches:
- Phase 1: ‘Edutainment’ assembly session – music-filled, fun morning assembly sessions at the various schools, in which the importance of physical activity and balanced nutrition is communicated in a lively and entertaining format to teachers and learners covering grades 2-6.
- Phase 2: Edu Module – brought to life with iconic characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy, for Grade 3 teachers and learners. The colourful, exciting workbooks focus on the importance of physical activity, how to participate in sport and play, and their subsequent positive effects. Included in the module is a focus on balanced eating and nutrition. Teachers are supplied with these workbooks and lesson plans, and learners with worksheets
- Phase 3: The Jungle Vites physical education and sports challenge for teachers and learners in grades 3-5. This aims to create excitement around being physically active with a focus on quality sports coaching and getting learners to play in a structured environment. It includes demonstrations of exercises and drills followed by mini games and matches in various types of sport. Schools receive physical education workbooks containing exercises and drills, and a comprehensive leave-behind sports kit to enable them to take the programme forward.
- Create a 3 phase health promotion and educational program focusing on the basis and importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle
- Offer interactive activities to encourage learning and make it more fun – and thus more effective
- Deliver quality education resources with an innovative approach to delivering the curriculum
- Up skill educators with education resources and material
- Empower schools with sport equipment and accompanying manuals
- Provide ongoing guidance and mentorship to the program schools
- Create a positive healthy learning experience that shows children the value of leading a healthy lifestyle in building a positive future
- Identify and nurture raw and natural talent
- Offer partners a way to participate in a programme which holds maximum value for all parties and makes a significant impact