Somersaulting on a trampoline, a football game in bubble balls, a large-scale parcours with various climbing, slide and balance elements, a game of table tennis or rather a leap into the ball pool? The PreSchoolSports education and sports program offers these and many other exercise and relaxation options to primary school pupils of the initiative "SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit" during their visit. Under the motto "Exercising for Fun", the pupils get to know different forms of exercise and can try them out as they wish. At the same time, the PreSchoolSports concept, in addition to agility and endurance, also promotes children's basic cognitive, motor, and creative abilities. Thus, in a cooperative project, PreSchoolSports and the SMS initiative are pursuing the goal of inspiring children to adopt an active lifestyle at an early age and showing them the wide range of exercise options.
The current results of the study on the health of children and adolescents in Germany (KiGGS) show the relevance of this approach: Only 23% of girls and 30% of boys aged between seven and ten years are physically active at least 60 minutes per day as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Particularly in the case of girls, there has been a marked decline in physical activity in recent years. At the same time, more and more children exhibit motor deficits at an early age. Simple exercises like running backwards, hopping on one leg or balancing are difficult for many children. Against this background, it is all the more important to show children at an early age the many different exercise options and how much fun it is to be active together.
“Under the guidance of our professional trainers, the children at PreSchoolSports get to know the numerous forms of exercise and are free to gain positive sports experiences without pressure. These experiences are very important in childhood and adolescence in order to develop an active lifestyle in the long term," said Katja Böckmann, managing director of PreSchoolSports. "Seeing how much fun the children have at PreSchoolSports encourages us in our approach to offer fun-filled activities to motivate children. Our aim is to encourage them to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly already at an early age and thus to prevent long-term lifestyle-related diseases," added Professor Karsten Müssig, project manager of the SMS initiative.
The initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." led by Professor Karsten Müssig at Düsseldorf primary schools seeks to counteract overweight/obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases in childhood and adolescence. The SMS initiative is supported by the association Düsseldorfer Kids mit PFIFF e.V. and scientifically accompanied by the German Diabetes Center (DDZ). The participating children earn their nutrition pilot license in cooperation with the Educational Center for Dietary Assistants of the Kaiserswerther Diakonie and take part in the exercise program for primary schools “Fitness for Kids” developed by sports scientist Professor Kerstin Ketelhut“. In addition, the pupils are taught stress mitigation techniques in an advanced training course in motor skills in a sensory classroom of the Präha Weber School and relaxation exercises in cooperation with the initiative ”Physical Activity during School Recess“ of the Dietrich Grönemeyer Foundation and the Deichmann company. Furthermore, in cooperation with the Techniker Krankenkasse, the course "Loosen Up! – Stress Management for Children" is offered in the participating school classes.
The two health insurance companies IKK classic and KKH, the organization diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid, the Sports Department of Düsseldorf and other renowned partners and prominent people support the project and provide the participating school children with additional attractive venues for learning outside of school. The patron of the initiative is Thomas Geisel, mayor of the state capital Düsseldorf. In 2015 the SMS initiative was awarded the support logo of IN FORM, Germany’s initiative for a healthy diet and more exercise, and in 2016 and in 2018 the SMS initiative was awarded the GUT DRAUF label of the German Center for Health Education (BZgA).
For more information on the initiative, see: www.sms-mach-mit.de