7th June 2021
Year 7 Girton students are the first school children to participate in a La Trobe University research project that involves spending fifteen minutes of House Tutor group time walking and talking in and around school grounds.
La Trobe University’s Centre for Sport and Social Impact will measure the impact of additional activity on student wellbeing and physical activity levels through data collection from surveys and accelerometers.
Girton’s Director of Student Wellbeing and Pastoral Care, Mr Dave Martin, said that the research project brings together some of the most beneficial elements of positive health.
“Looking after physical health is one of the most effective ways to look after mental health, and the benefits of regular walking can be profound for some people.
“We also know that when people talk to one another, a whole range of positive emotions can be shared. So, when La Trobe University approached us with a project that involved both walking and talking, we did not hesitate to get involved,” Mr Martin said.
The “Walk and Talk” initiative will take place during Year 7 House Tutor groups next Term. Year 7 students will spend 15 minutes of at least two afternoon House Tutor sessions each week walking and talking with their classmates and teachers outdoors, within school grounds and in the surrounding streets. All Year 7 and Year 8 students will be asked to complete short health and wellbeing surveys. Students in both year levels will be invited to volunteer to wear an accelerometer, a small device like a pedometer worn on the hip that counts steps. Each group will record their activity for seven days at the start of Term 3 and another seven days at the end of Term 3.
The Year 8 students will continue with their regular afternoon House Tutor groups without walking and talking. They will serve as a ‘control group’ so data can be compared with the Year 7 students who participate in Walk and Talks.
“Another positive aspect of this initiative is that students who volunteer to wear the accelerometer and successfully provide the data to the University will earn a $30 gift voucher for themselves, plus a $30 donation towards the registered Australian charity, SolarBuddy, with whom our Year 7 students already have a connection.
“In this way, our students will walk for themselves and also for someone in need.
“This initiative will allow the University to measure the benefits of introducing more physical activity into the school day, and we hope that this will be the beginning of introducing the Walk and Talk Pastoral Care initiative for more students at Girton.” Mr Martin said.