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Sporting Chance & Disney Africa Bring Healthy Happy Play to East London School Children

Learners from ten East London under resourced schools will be jumping, skipping and playing to their heart’s content from the 7th to the 17th of May when the Disney Happy Healthy Play Programme brings their activations to town.

Developed and presented by Sporting Chance and The Walt Disney Company Africa, the Disney Happy Healthy Play Programme is designed to empower under-resourced schools to entrench Physical Education into their curriculums. The programme provides fun and creative tools for educators and students using Disney characters and stories as inspiration for leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Over the past eight years, Disney Healthy Happy Play has reached over 150,000 learners across South Africa – and counting.


The programme is one of the pinnacle programmes of leading sports coaching and development organisation Sporting Chance, with material originally developed in collaboration with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. It consists of three components:


  • An Edu Module delivered to all Grade three learners and brought to life with iconic characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy. The colourful, exciting posters focus on the importance of physical activity, how to participate in sport and play, and their positive effects as well as focussing on balanced eating and nutrition.
  • Music-filled, fun morning sessions at the various schools, in which the importance of physical activity is communicated in a lively and entertaining format to teachers and learners. 
  • Installation of the Disney Healthy Happy Play active play area which is a painted one hundred square-metre activity circuit that provides a valuable piece of indestructible equipment, empowering learners and educators for Physical Education sessions and assessments. 


Natalie Pollock, General Manager for Sporting Chance, explains that the idea to develop Disney Healthy Happy Active Play Areas came about after working extensively in under-resourced schools and seeing how they lacked the facilities to encourage exercise amongst the children. 


“The lack of sports opportunities in schools and limited resources mean that less than a third of schools from disadvantaged communities have regularly scheduled Physical Education. It is well known that physical activity has numerous benefits for children, including social stimulation, physical fitness, improved motor skills, as well as emotional and academic improvements.”


“We wanted to create a resource that would enhance Physical Education in schools on an ongoing basis. In the past, we have provided equipment like balls, bibs, beacons, cones, and skipping ropes, but we wanted to take this one step further and create permanent fixtures at the schools that would further enhance Physical Education and promote the learner’s overall health while having fun.”


And so, after many months of research, planning and design, the Disney Healthy Happy Active Play Areas were launched. Educators have are trained on how to use the play areas effectively, and in East London there are also two full-time “Healthy Happy Play Champion Coaches” who make regular visits to the ten selected schools to conduct Physical Education classes which create added sustainability to the programme.  

 “The Disney Happy Healthy Play programme supports under-resourced schools to advance their Physical Education practices by providing them with training and equipment and, most importantly, by monitoring their progress and providing mentorship. We are proud to be collaborating with Disney Africa, whose exciting and imaginative content brings the programme, its engagement and interactivity to life,” says Pollock. “We are also very grateful to Laureus South Africa and Mercedes-Benz South Africa for their support in funding the coaches in the East London leg of the programme.”

Christine Service, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa comments: “After 8 years and reaching over 150 000 children across the country, we are excited to be moving into another rollout of the Disney Healthy Happy Play program, in collaboration with Sporting Chance. We hope that a new generation of learners will be inspired, through Disney’s storytelling and characters, to bring physical activity and healthy eating into their everyday lives.” 

Following its time in East London, the Disney Happy Healthy Play roadshow will then move on to the Western Cape, Kwazulu Natal, and Gauteng where several schools in each province also feature permanent Happy Healthy Play areas.


To find out more about the Disney Happy Healthy Play programme please visit or contact Natalie Pollock

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