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A healthy life style: transfer from the class room to everyday life

Today’s youth culture seems to be characterized by activities that demand less and less physical activity. Sitting or hanging around, sharing thoughts and feelings on social media, while consuming fast food and energy drinks – though this is somewhat of a caricature, looking around it sadly cannot be denied that this picture does ring a bell.

We all are aware of the risks that our youth is running with this type of lifestyle, the current figures on e.g. obesities are frightening, and rising. And beyond the health risks, we also fear for the ability to partake in society on a meaningful level, with all the risks this implies for the future of our youth both socially and economically.

During school hours teachers and other staff members have the opportunity to present our pupils with different, more healthy options. Healthy where the provision of drinks and food on the school premises is concerned, and during the hours spent on sports. These provide pupils with the opportunity and the challenge to use and enlarge their physical potentials, to work together during team sports and to experience the joy of reaching your goals (e.g. when a game is won) and to learn how to deal with disappointments (in particular when games are lost). Moreover, pupils share experiences in a more meaningful way than by moving their fingers across the touch screen - sports is so much more than just exercising your body!

No more couch potatoes

However, though we have to acknowledge that developing such a healthy school environment, curriculum and indeed social school culture is a task that is not easily achieved, our real challenge is to transfer that healthy life style to everyday life. How to prevent our pupils from turning into couch potatoes the moment they leave school - metaphorically speaking (and in a lot of cases even literally) that is the challenge we hope to address with this project.

In doing so, we extend teachers contribution to the life and growth of our students beyond the class room, which implies that our aim is to contribute as school and teachers to social policies regarding youth and education, in line with the civil society idea ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and the principle that to improve society, you need to start by investing in a healthy education  - education specifically not being limited to the class room, but embracing all of everyday life (cf. prof.dr. Micha de Winter, Verbeter de wereld, begin bij de opvoeding [Improve the world, start with education] (2011) SWP, Amsterdam).

Call for partners:

The idea to develop a project along the lines introduced above was born at the Piter Jelles !mpulse secondary school in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. Through our personal networks, we have interested schools in Turkey, England and Germany
to participate in preliminary discussions aimed at developing our basic ideas into a viable project.

With this call we hope to interest other secondary schools within the EU to participate in these discussions as well and eventually join in the appliance to Erasmus+.

We kindly invite you to contact Harry Verhaar ( / +31 6 28553291) or Ralph de Jong ( / +31 6 13380970) if you are interested.

We will further develop our common ideas and suggestions into a proposal, that we will send to NUFFIC as a subscription to the ERASMUS-plus programme. Deadline to send in such a proposal is March 21 12:00 CET.

If all goes well, we hope to start this autumn in bringing a healthy lifestyle from the class room to everyday life!

For this project all the partners will take part in developing:

  • Output 1-  Curricular Module: improving movement for pupils and teachers in and around school
  • Output 2 - Curricular Module: A healthy lifestyle during schooldays
  • Output 3 - Didactical material: Co-creating and development of 6 didactical materials with pupils, teachers and parents
  • Output 4 - Didactical material: implementation, testing and evaluation of the didactical material
  • Output 5 - Knowledge portal: a display of the didactical material and good practices of the 6 schools.