Melbourne Girls Grammar has always prioritised a holistic education. With the move to remote learning, it was important not to just emphasise academics, but to demonstrate to our Grammarians how they could weave wellbeing into their everyday. That’s when the Virtually Amazing Race was born.
Our school promotes opportunities for every Grammarian to find things which stimulate them mentally, physically, socially and cognitively. As lockdown in Melbourne went on longer than anticipated, some elements were beginning to lose their importance in the day. As we focussed on remote learning and the academic outcomes of the year, we also wove into the priorities of every day the overall wellbeing of our students. Just like we normally do on campus.
To achieve this, we adopted Sport Australia’s ‘Find your 30’ (minutes of fitness) catchphrase to emphasise the importance of daily movement. To help our Grammarians with ideas for their daily movement, our dedicated Artemis team provided a dashboard of activities they could take part in, including circuit training, boxing, Pilates and yoga.
To add the all important social and community experience, the Virtually Amazing Race tasked all our Grammarians with earning daily move points by exercising, meditating, drinking water or cooking and snacking on healthy foods. Points were converted to kilometres as the race around Australia was on! School Houses battled each other and the special Staff House to accumulate points every single day with movement and wellbeing goals.
“The Virtually Amazing Race provided an opportunity to link our Fit for Life approach to a goal beyond each person, which is when we see some real shifts in the growth and development of our students – and for many, the tangible piece that inspires them,“ said Sally Bailey, Executive Director, Artemis Programs.
Through the course of the Virtually Amazing Race, the Artemis Team posted daily videos to prompt movement and supply motivation. The daily points, managed by Artemis, provided a running tally of kilometres travelled to give a visual representation of which House was in the lead.
This spurred on some healthy competition and yielded some high achievers from all over the School!
Karina in Year 1 was active before the Race started but found this to be a great opportunity to get her family involved and adopt some other mindful based activities.
“I liked to exercise during my morning learning break, when I finished my work in the afternoon and of course on the weekends,” said Karina. With her younger brother Lachlan always up for a scooter, bike ride or jump on the trampoline, Karina always found opportunities to get moving.
“I’m inspired to move because I want to be fit and healthy like my dad. When it was sunny, we played outside and when it rained, we did exercise workouts or pushups with Dad,” said Karina. Outside of exercise, Karina also learned some new healthy habits thanks to the Virtually Amazing Race. “I read lots of books, did mindful colouring, built Lego and made origami! I also ate lots of fruit and veggies to stay healthy.”
A bit of encouragement seemed to be the key to staying on track, and for sisters Maddie and Sophie, they were able to push each other to gain points for their House.
“Throughout isolation, we have completed numerous mountain bike rides, walks and home-run workouts, all of which were completed with our family and close friends on a daily basis.
“At an early stage of our remote learning, we had established a strict timetable that covered the best suited times for us to exercise and complete homework. Before and after school was best. Our parents were part of our motivation, and they were willing to embark on our Virtually Amazing Race experience with us!”
Thanks to the organisation skills they learned in the Boarding House, they were not only well placed to thrive in remote learning but also in the Virtually Amazing Race.
“We can both agree that the Virtually Amazing Race re-introduced hope and motivation into our remote learning experience. As sisters, we share similar strengths and hobbies that predominantly revolve around the enjoyment of exercise, and the benefits it has on people’s mental and physical health.”
We know that for our VCE students, 2020 has been a series of unexpected events for them. But for Year 11 student Lilli, the Virtually Amazing Race was a chance to do something she hadn’t done before.
“Prior to the Virtually Amazing Race I wasn’t really that active and would go for walks here and there, but when it was announced it really motivated me to help lead my House to victory!” said Lilli.
As a senior student, Lilli was spending a lot of time in front of a screen and loved the opportunity of the Race to remind her and motivate her to move. She also found a new love, podcasts.
“I found that I really enjoy listening to podcasts. When I would go for walks around my grandparent’s farm, I would listen to podcasts about lots of different things – the news, true crime, comedy. Before the Virtually Amazing Race I had never really listened to a podcast.”
Lilli also involved her family, making healthy snacks to share and encouraging everyone on walks.
Now that the Race is over, we’re once again in remote learning and our Artemis team have a new initiative. 8B48 is an 8 minute workout before 8.00am. Everyone is welcome to join virtually through Zoom to participate in various activities like dancing, yoga or workouts. The goal is simply to move and start the day with endorphins flowing, the brain switched on and ready to learn. We can’t wait to see what our Artemis team come up with next.