The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, will stage the inaugural ‘National School Moves Day’ on Friday (April 5) at Eltham High School, St. Catherine.
Speaking with JIS News in a recent interview, Parish Health Promotion Officer for St. Catherine, Marcia Stephenson, said that the one-day event seeks to promote the important role of physical activity among students, and the impact on health.
She said students from more than 100 schools involved in the Ministry of Health’s ‘Jamaica Moves in Schools’ pilot programme, as well as institutions within the Eltham High vicinity, have been invited to participate.
“National School Moves Day’ is about bringing awareness to physical activity, because we want our youngsters to understand that movement is important to your health,” Ms. Stephenson said.
“It is a big move in bringing awareness to healthy lifestyle, making healthy choices and making them early in life, so that when you become an adult, you prevent or lessen the impact as it relates to chronic illnesses,” she added.
The day’s activities will begin with an opening ceremony to be attended by officials from both Ministries, and will feature a nutrition village, where persons can sample healthy food and drink products.
Ms. Stephenson said the day is expected to become an annual event to be observed on the last Friday in April.
She noted that the Government continues to be proactive in its mandate to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices and will be making Physical Education (PE) mandatory at all grade levels in primary and secondary schools.
“Some children are not doing PE at certain form levels. It is now going to be a policy to make it mandatory that all grades should be doing some physical activity,” Ms. Stephenson said.
Meanwhile, full roll-out of ‘Jamaica Moves in Schools’ in all primary and secondary schools is scheduled to commence in September 2019.
This follows a one-year pilot, which commenced in September 2018 and is slated to end in June.
As part of the pilot, the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) partnered with the Education Ministry to stage one-day camps for primary-school students at Sts. Peter and Paul Preparatory School in St. Andrew and G.C. Foster College in St. Catherine, on March 7 and 8, respectively.
The aim of the camps was to strengthen the capacity of the school community to become a healthy setting for learning and working.
Approximately 41 students and nine teachers from schools in St. Catherine and St. Thomas have been trained as ‘Jamaica Moves’ ambassadors. The institutions are Port Morant Primary and Junior High, Jericho Primary, Spanish Town Primary, Mount Nebo Primary and Naggo Head Primary.