Keeping children healthy

Keeping children healthy

This 1901 photograph shows Wellington High School girls doing physical drill. In most schools boys and girls exercised separately. Notice how these girls are doing their stretching and dumb-bell exercises wearing full uniform, including stockings. This was a familiar sight as all children were expected to do physical exercises on a daily basis.

Teachers were also required to conduct breathing exercises at the end of every lesson to remedy ‘obstructive breathing’. Common health problems identified were eye, ear, throat and nose ‘troubles’, stooped shoulders, malnutrition and spinal curvature. Children could expect to be constantly reminded to ‘Sit up straight!’ and keep ‘Shoulders back!’, as poor posture was targeted in schools.

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