Children show more and more deficits in motor skills, language and social contacts. To counteract this, the district of Rottweil and AOK Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg are introducing the exercise card.
District of Rottweil – Anyone who moves a little (and eats unhealthy) gains weight. This applies to both adults and children. In the case of the latter, the figures gave some cause for concern even before the corona pandemic: around a quarter of the children and young people in the Rottweil district are being medically treated for obesity, according to district administrator Wolf-Rüdiger Michel. Just as many would need support in relation to motor skills.
Legend promoted by children
“Many children can’t even walk backwards properly,” says Michel at a press conference in the district office’s large meeting room. That’s why the district of Rottweil, in collaboration with AOK Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg, is introducing the exercise card, starting in 120 daycare centers.
Through a series of exercises, the children are introduced to different approaches to movement in a playful way, such as running, jumping, climbing or throwing a ball. In addition, the educators receive various materials for carrying out the exercise. The children themselves get an “exercise bag” containing, among other things, their passports, colorful dinosaur stickers and much more.
Snake, kangaroo and squirrel
A total of 32 exercises are divided into different categories, which are named after animal species: For example, there is a focus on the slalom run for the snake, different hops must be completed for the kangaroo, and balancing for the squirrel.
These can be “practiced” for hours of play. Every two to three months, the children can choose one of the animal categories in a special play session and demonstrate the exercises. If they succeed, they can put a sticker in their movement pass.
Parents are also actively involved, for example through information events and parents’ evenings, according to Scherer. There they can e.g. learn more about nutrition.
Jump, jump, run conquer the world
“We want to support the children’s upbringing in an active way,” emphasizes Michel. In the past, children “conquered” the world mainly through play, but today this is less the case. “Daddling” in front of the screen is more interesting than walking or running, says Michel. And the restrictions from the corona pandemic would also have contributed to the overall situation.
In addition, there are fewer “real social contacts,” adds Marco Sandmann. Together with Anabei Dopaj, he manages the implementation of the project in the health department. The advantage here is that the district Rottweil was one of two that was able to collect important data from the school entrance exams between 2015 and 2019.
No data is available for the past three years, but: “The paediatrician assumes that the deficits have increased,” says Sandmann.
From idea to implementation
The idea of the workout was developed in Stuttgart in the Office for Sport and Exercise, as Anabel Dobaj explains. The implementation takes place in four work packages: Firstly: multipliers, i.e. education and training of educational specialists. Second: networking. “We founded the Motorik network to implement the training card,” says Dobaj.
The third step of the implementation was considered with an information event at the end of July. According to Dobaj, 34 specialists had already been reached and won over to the project by mid-August. Finally, an evaluation of the movement pass follows. “The introductory phase is scientifically accompanied by a bachelor’s thesis from Furtwangen University, with a focus on rural areas,” explains Dobaj.
So that “grasp” becomes “understand” at some point
The implementation of the exercise pass is also very important for AOK Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg, as CEO Klaus Herrmann explains: According to a study by the Robert Koch Institute, around 1.5 million children between the ages of three and ten exercise too little. . The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends around three hours of exercise a day – in Germany the majority of children would not even get an hour. “And unfortunately we are no exception,” says Herrmann.
“We want to start bidding as early as possible to lay the right foundation,” says Herrmann. And since kindergarten children are particularly curious, day care centers are particularly suitable for starting the program. However, they are already considering expanding the program to include sports clubs.
Sandmann adds that you can also lay an important foundation for nutrition and development. After all, regular exercise is also good for the brain: “For example, ‘getting’ will gradually ‘understand’, and ‘grasping’ will eventually ‘grasp’.”