In our second feature of the ‘day in the life of a Health Mentor’ series, Paul Norris talks about his work in Lincolnshire schools. Paul previously won the National Health Mentor of the Year and is the current East Midlands Health Mentor of the Year.
I like to get in early and be organised, ready for the children to enjoy the day ahead. My first stop is the hall where I type up my learning objectives and get the equipment ready for each P.E lesson throughout the day. This helps to maximise learning time for each class when they undertake their sessions.
My next stop is the Family Room for Breakfast Club. Pupils from EYFS, Year 1 and 2 begin arriving and are encouraged and supported with setting up their own place settings, cutlery, drinks and to pour their own cereal and milk. There is a sense of optimism and excitement as the children talk about what activities they will be doing today.
Following registration, I work with children on a one to one basis or with small groups of target pupils. This is to help pupils with their concentration and retention in class. To do this we follow different activities from a motor-sensory circuit. The circuit also helps to energise and settle children for their learning.
After the interventions, I begin my carousel of P.E lessons for 30 minutes at a time with each of the EYFS classes. Every class follows a multi-skills curriculum and each lesson includes a what, how and why of our learning, a quick warm up, skill activity, progression or game, cool down and plenary with plenty of assessment opportunities squeezed in throughout each fast-paced lesson. It is great to see the children developing their physical literacy with a smile in every session.
The learning is then extended in the classroom. With one class each week, I show videos relating to our P.E lessons and we discuss the benefits of a healthy lifestyle before a quick lunch break myself…with a variety of healthy food of course!
After my lunch, I head straight to the playground. Year 2 Play Leaders support me as different skills stations are set up including skipping, reaction ball throwing, targets, bean bag throwing, hoop rolling and travelling through marker spots to name a few. Pupils that choose not to participate often play football, tig games or keep active on the trim-trail and I would say the majority of pupils are taking part in physical activity. I am also on hand if any first aid is required or issues need resolving. Participation rates are recorded to see what activities prove most popular or enjoyable and help myself and the Play Leaders to assess what sessions to organise for the next lunchtime.
The afternoon lessons work the same as the morning with plenty of P.E! I now have three Year two classes undertaking a multi-skills and games curriculum with each class getting a 30-minute lesson. It is great to have a positive impact on the physical wellbeing of pupils from six different classes across the school day.
I finish the day with my after school lego club. This has a particular focus on pupils sharing and working together to build different objects. Each club starts with pupils having fruit and drink on the carpet, a chat about how their day has been before we discuss the aims of the club for the day.
Before I leave, I make sure I catch up with staff to discuss the progress pupils have made and plans for next week. This is underpinned by my daily PE assessments to help track pupils and adjust my future sessions accordingly.
What makes me enjoy the role the most is how fast-paced and active it is. No two days are the same and moving from class to class working with different pupils across the school and helping to develop happier and healthier children gives me an enormous sense of pride. I feel I am following a career that is really worthwhile and using my skills to give something back to society.