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From 7 to 11 October, LSPA representatives went to Kaunas to participate in the Intensive Course of the NordPlus Horizontal project NPHZ-2017/10130 “Nordic Baltic Learning Environments for Movement Affordances”, 01.09.2017 - 30.06.2020.

Within two days, students and project lecturers and sports teachers from Lithuanian Sports University, Latvian Academy of Sport Pedagogy, Riga Hansa Gymnasium, University of Tartu, Tartu Kivilinna Elementary School, Finnish University of Jyvaskila, University of Iceland and Southeastern Norwegian University College, went to three Kaunas schools - Jonas and Petro Vileyshiai school, Kaunas Saules Gymnasium and Kaunas Alexander Pushkin Gymnasium. 

They acquainted themselves with sports facilities of the schoolyards, observed sports lessons and recesses. Following the visits to the educational institutions, the project participants created 40-minute sport lesson programs and 20-minute sports and physical activities recess period, to be conducted with students aged 13-14 and 16-17.

From LSPA in the Intensive course participated 3rd year LSPA Sports Science student Amanda BUŠA, together with Yekaterina ZUBENKO from Russia and PhD Healthcare Program student Krishnavarapu NAGESWARA, from India; as well as LSPA graduate, a sports teacher at Riga Hansa Gymnasium Una LIEPINA, and Ieva RUDZINSKA, an associate professor of LSPA Department of Management and Communication Science.

Students from the Nordic and Baltic countries told about their country physical activity in schoolyards and during recesses, while foreign students from Latvia gave an insight into the opportunities for physical activity on Indian and Russian schoolyards and during school recesses.

Krishnavarapu NAGESWARA, who was active in Jonas and Petro Vileyshiai school, shared his experience: First of all, I appreciate the whole team of Lithuanian Sports University for conducting such an interesting course and allowing us to participate in it, sharing knowledge between the people from different nations. We started the course with the lectures by the delegates, then followed by the presentations of the students about the schoolyards in their respective nations and discussed the pros and cons of schoolyards. Then we have been assigned a school to study about the schoolyard of it and given one day time to prepare the physical education lesson for 40min and recess of 20min with the equipment and the possible things to access. At the end on day-2, we have presented the pros and cons of the school which we studied and the physical activity which we taught to the students, and we gave the future Ideas for the usage and development of the schoolyard.

Ekaterina ZUBENKO, who went to Kaunas Saules Gymnasium, reflected: Firstly we presented and talked about schools in our home countries, it was very exciting to tell everyone about schoolyards and recesses in Russia. Than at the 2 day we went to the Kaunas Saules Gymnasium, and we were observing their schoolyard and sports lesson, after that we made our own program for sport lesson in 40 min and recess in 20 min, which we had to conduct to the next day to the 13-14 years old kids and 16-17 years old teenagers. At the end we presented our work to other groups and showed them what we have done. It was very interesting to work in the group of people from totally different countries and find the common language in such a short amount of time to make something interesting and new.

Amanda Buša led soccer training - the kids first hit the ball through the gate, then in the park next to the school, they hit the ball through the gate formed by trees growing in the park – using the affordances for physical activity of the park. Schoolchildren were supported by students in exciting obstacle runs, such as having to swing and simultaneously hit the football, etc., but most of the children were attracted to slacklining. The kids were challenged by a professional - a Finnish student who slid forward with such a gentle swing, that the children thought - I can do it, too.

We were surprised, when, although it was raining all the time, the next group of schoolchildren, accompanied by their teacher, came out to be physically active during the next recess, too. One of the aims of the project is to show that physically active Baltic shoolchildren can be out in school yards in any weather conditions, as it is already in the case in the Nordic countries.

I couldn’t but agree with Terhi Huovinen, a professor at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, who said, "I could not be more proud of what you have done", meaning – students did a great job, creating a lot of ways of involving schoolchildren in challenging physical activity. Hopefully, our sports teacher Una Liepiņa also got some new ideas how to promote physical activity in the  schoolyard and during recess.

Ieva Rudzinska, project coordinator from LSPA.





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