TO OUR GOOD HEALTH; THIS Week Education Reporter Ben Turner Went to Phoenix Primary School in Fairfield. the School Uses Everything from Cycling to Class to Cooking to Stay Healthy
Byline: Ben Turner
WHEN teachers are calling for pupils at home and walking them to class - you know a school is committed to healthy living.
And that is exactly the scenario at Phoenix Primary School in Fairfield.
The Birchfield Road school has signed up to the notion that a healthy body means a healthy mind and the well being and "emotional literacy" of pupils is at the heart of everything it does.
And headteacher Chris Muscatelli confirmed that has included 15 teacher volunteers escorting groups of children to school.
"We have a school travel plan which encourages the walking to school.
"Recently, as part of this, staff called to children's homes and encouraged them to walk with them. Parents were made aware beforehand but apparently the look on the children's faces was priceless and they were laughing and smiling as they came into school,"Mr Muscatelli said.
He said: "We want to encourage our children to increase the level of physical education, fitness regimes and look at the healthy food options.
"If we can help them pick up the simple message of the importance of physical fitness and eating well, hopefully they will carry it on throughout their lives and pass it on to their families.
"But for us, health and well-being has a secondary element which is mental health. We have children with challenging behaviour and we help them learn to relax and manage their emotions."
Projects to boost pupils' health and well-being are plentiful here.
Diet plays an important part, with children having access to cereals and a wide range of fruit and vegetables at daily breakfast and snack clubs.
And thanks to offering a variety of appetising dishes ranging from freshly made soups to 'experimental' offerings such as Mexican egg dish ranchos huevos, 60% of children are now tucking into school dinners.
And the food theme extends to the curriculum with all pupils having regular access to the school's designated cookery room.
As the name suggests, pupils use the venue to get to grips with cooking - and it is a serious business, with children kitted out in chefs' and cooks' hats and aprons.
But it is also used to bring other parts of the syllabus alive.
"The children made some Elizabethan dishes because they were doing a project on Elizabethans and Tudors,"Mr Muscatelli explained.
Outside professionals have also worked with children on the importance of cooking nutritious food and parents also benefit from weekly cooking sessions.
The sessions not only include cooking but subjects like eating healthily within a budget.
Other projects include encouraging children to cycle to school once a week.
As part of this, pupils are also given tips on bike maintenance and road safety.
Inspiring football and fitness training is annually delivered by Everton and Liverpool coaches and pupils go swimming every week.
They include children with special educational needs who access hydro pools in Kirkby and Liverpool to strengthen muscles and improve fitness levels.
Speech, language and visual therapists, along with physiotherapists, also work closely with the school.
Anger management and massage sessions are also helping pupils with behavioural issues.
And Mr Muscatelli said the host of measures were paying off.
"The spin-off benefits are that children are happier within themselves.
"We have a lot more orderly community and they learn better.
"Schools are the gatekeepers for so much including the physical and mental health of our pupils. …