“Active Return to School” – A Polish programme to improve the physical condition of children & adolescents

The “Active Return to School” is an action organized by the Ministry of Education and Science in cooperation with experts from research centres. The program is designed to help students regain physical fitness after completing distance learning. The aim of the project is to improve and monitor the condition of children and adolescents.

The programme has been divided into two stages. The first one will include training for physical education teachers, conducted by specialists from six Polish universities of physical education. The training will be comprehensive and cover issues related to methods of counteracting the effects of hypokinesia – inactivity, social isolation or health issues consequent on the pandemic.

The topics that will be discussed during the workshop include:

  • application of breathing exercises and relaxation techniques stimulating the return to normal functioning of the respiratory and circulatory system and the nervous system,
  • use of multisensory stimulation techniques to reduce the negative effects of social isolation
  • adapting exercises to the abilities and needs of children and adolescents in order to effectively counteract the effects of long-term hypokinesia,
  • correct and safe dosing of training loads to students as part of physical education lessons and other forms of physical activity carried out after returning to school,
  • strengthening social relations in the peer group after the period of social isolation. Maximizing the emotional benefits of physical activity as an element of counteracting the effects of a pandemic in the affective sphere,
  • counteracting the health effects that appear after COVID-19 or supporting the body’s immunity.

The second stage includes sports and additional activities for pupils. Teachers who complete the first stage of the project will receive a certificate and will be able to apply with their school for money for additional sports activities for pupils. About 300,000 extra hours of classes are planned.Additional monitoring of physical condition with final report is planning.

The Minister announced that the value of the implementation of the “Active Return to School” programme this year is EUR 9.17 mln. The project leader is Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw.

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