Education on the Move
The origins of this initiative is through research Britt Vegsund, Municipal Physical Activity Leader with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, conducted in Oslo, Norway in the fall of 2017.
Through interviews and school visits Britt researched how Norwegians support and integrate physical activity into their school day.
As part of her trip she came across the Active Smarter Kids initiative. Given its simple, low-cost approach ASK appears to be a model that could work in Nova Scotian schools.
As such Britt and her project collaborators piloted ASK lessons in two schools during the 2018-19 school year in the South Shore Regional Centre for Education. Overall, the pilot was a success, with participating teachers increasing their class’s daily physical activity by an average of 60 minutes per week, all while reviewing and reinforcing academic content in key subject areas.
As one ASK student explained, “ASK is fun. You get to work with your classmates, you get to learn outside, and it helps improve your health!”
Results of the NS ASK Pilot Project can be read in the project’s evaluation report, South Shore Schools on the Move: Evaluation Results of the Nova Scotia Active Smarter Kids Pilot Project.
Building on the Success of the 2018-2019 school year, with funding support from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage and the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the NS ASK Pilot Project was expanded to 6 schools with the South Shore Regional Centre for Education for the duration of the 2019-2020 school year.
Results of the scaled-up ASK Pilot will be shared once the school year is complete.
What is Active Smarter Kids (ASK)?
ASK is a model for curriculum delivery researched and developed in Norway(1,2) that involves the incorporation of simple physical activities into the delivery of academic lessons. Physically Active Lessons (PALs) activities are delivered by educators in 20-30 minutes and are well suited for math, language and social studies classes. Other subjects can use PALs with simple adaptation. PAL activities are usually delivered outdoors but are adaptable to any setting.
The ASK model is low-cost and simple and has been shown to contribute to students’ attachment to curriculum as well as in classroom cooperation and students’ sense of belonging and enjoyment at school and in class.
PAL activities are designed to engage all students and encourage collaborative and cooperative learning. Most activities occur as a class in small groups and offer a balance between the challenge of the lesson content and the physical activity. Activities are adapted to meet different needs of students and class dynamics.
A public database of PALs is available (www.activesmarterkids.com) and educators can add their own activities for others to use.
For more information
Project Lead: Britt Vegsund, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg firstname.lastname@example.org | 902-541.1336
Project Collaborator: Anna Haanstra, Regional Physical Activity Consultant email@example.com | 902.634.7504
Education on the Move – Ideas and Inspiration for School-Based Physical Activity from Norway | Britt Vegsund
Donnelly JE, et al. (2016) Physical Activity, Fitness, Cognitive Function, and Academic Achievement in Children: A Systematic Review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 48(6):1197-222.
Resaland, Geir K., et al. “Effects of physical activity on schoolchildren’s academic performance: The Active Smarter Kids (ASK) cluster-randomized controlled trial.” Preventive Medicine 91 (2016): 322-328.