Laya Super Troopers is Ireland’s first Health Homework programme and has grown to be the largest programme in Irish primary schools, with almost one million children across more than 1,600 primary schools taking part since the programme began in 2014. Its aim is to enhance the health and wellbeing of children and their families.
Early childhood is a key phase in the development of lifestyle habits that are associated with later personal, health and societal outcomes. Literature suggests that children can often struggle to meet evidence-based guidelines for healthy levels of physical activity and dietary intake. More recent concerns have also focused on the mental wellbeing of children which can impact on their later development and quality of life. School-based intervention programmes delivered in collaboration with families can help support children to reach their potential.
Laya Super Troopers was created to be an holistic healthy homework programme, designed to be easy for teachers to implement, for children to follow and for the whole family to get involved in. Designed by teachers and educational experts, the programme comprises of brief, fun activities spanning three key pillars – Physical Activity, Nutrition and Wellbeing – and it complements the primary school curriculum.
The initial programme was implemented through a series of year long ‘Health Homework’ inserts which were sent home in the pupil’s homework journal. This encouraged children and their families to complete the ‘health homework’ as they would any other piece of homework given.
In 2020, the programme evolved and now involves 2 key elements:
10 weeks of 1 a week family challenges to be completed at home. A wallchart including surprise ‘scratch and reveal’ panels will be sent home with each participant. Each week, children and their families are encouraged to reveal a new challenge and complete it at home together. They can also document their experience if they wish for sharing with us online.
Due to launch in September 2021, Laya Super Troopers TV is a series of weekly, 10 minute online ‘TV episodes’ which children can watch in class with their teacher and at home with their families. The content for Laya Super Troopers TV will include a series of features across the 3 programme pillars as well as content shared by children and their families taking part in the programme.
Enormous Potential to Create Positive Change
Since the Laya Super Troopers programme was created, we continue to believe that it has enormous potential to create positive change among young children in Ireland, so that every child and their family can benefit from the programme. Independent research has found that Super Troopers supports children’s health and wellbeing during a critical phase of their development, with 93% of parents confirming an increase in children’s daily activity levels, and 86% of teachers and 78% of parents who would recommend the programme.
If you are a teacher who wishes to register your school to participate in the Laya Super Troopers programme, please click here.