Facilitate physical activity through an enabling school environment

Recommendations from the EU Action Plan

Create extensive and well-maintained walking and biking infrastructures for promoting active commuting to and from school; Work with parents to encourage active commuting; Provide infrastructures for active breaks according to students’ age (e.g. playgrounds, schoolyards); Integrate physical activities into the curriculum; Use the interior space and equipments for kindergarten and schools to offer different possibilities to be active; Increase the quality of sequential, age and developmentally appropriate physical education for all kindergarten and school children, taught by certified physical activity teachers; Ensure an adequate presence of free/low cost sports facilities to promote activities during and after school; Give children the possibility to participate in school, city and neighbourhood planning in order to create secure and attractive spaces to move; Increase the awareness of and participation in the European Week of Sport.

Ideas from JANPA

Introduce mandatory daily physical education (PE) lessons (Hungary, Latvia); Make the environment attractive for children to encourage physical activity (Italy, Germany); Create an inventory of nearby sport facilities and activities (France); Aim to reach high(er) activity levels by all students during PE classes (Germany); Encourage teachers to integrate movement into academic lessons and develop and lead classroom fitness breaks (Germany); Increase road safety and risk acceptance by parents to allow children walk and cycle to school alone (Germany); Build collaborations between schools and nearby sport clubs (interviewee); Allocate funding through municipalities to schools for organizing additional sport classes beyond mandatory PE lessons (Latvia); Train peer leaders to be able to conduct active breaks (Malta); Invite teachers and caregivers to participate in the organized activities together with children (Slovenia).

How much physical activity do children need?

WHO recommends that people in this age group accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity every day, and even more physical activity is likely to have additional health benefits. Moreover, children should limit extended periods of sedentary behavior, such as sitting in front of any kind of screen.

Programmes and policies from JANPA