1. Topic: project KluKiBUm (Kluge Kinder durch Bewegung in der Umwelt?)

We propose to investigate whether outdoor nursery schools and nursery schools with the seal of quality "Bewegungskindergarten Rheinland-Pfalz" offer enhanced support in the areas of “physical movement” and “environment”.

2. Members of the research group

3. Current state of research and perspectives

Various studies confirm that an active lifestyle has a positive impact on health and educational aspects of physical movement. This is particularly true of the cognitive, social and psychomotor development of children. If German children increased physical activity, they would be more intelligent and would have achieved better results in the PISA study[1]. It can be assumed that self-determined physical movement in outdoor settings also increases environmental awareness and joy with experimentation. In particular, the labels “bewegte Kindergärten” and "bewegte Grundschule" assume that physical movement has a positive effect on the development of the children’s personality and intelligence. However, research on the factor environment or physical movement in outdoor settings is scarce. For example, there is a great need to investigate if and how outdoor nursery schools offer additional support for small children. In addition to morphological and kinesiological data, the quality of physical movement and the way children experiment are important to collect. Although similar hypotheses are often cited, the relationship between an energetic school life and the environment and the development of “research spirits” in children has not yet been investigated. Initial results would allow an in-depth analysis to identify issues and to trigger and reinforce educational processes. Also, research could investigate what kind of tasks and which methods are appropriate for an ideal development.
Project proposal submissions to the "Sports and Biodiversity" (“Sport und biologische Vielfalt”) program (German Olympic Sports Confederation and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)) and the Volkswagen Foundation are planned.

4. Interdisciplinarity and cooperation

The aim of KluKiBUm is to investigate the impact of an energetic school life relative to the environment, health and children’s scientific curiosity and in comparison to conventional learning locations. The first step is to identify schools and nursery schools that place emphasis on physical activity and to identify environmental conditions in order to analyze the effects on the above mentioned parameters (Sinning, Gießing, Schaumann).
For many years, the Institute of Sport Science conducted studies on physiological and cognitive effects of energetic and non-energetic physical education classes. The studies confirm that physical movement, as recommended by the World Health Organization, has some positive effects. Also, various studies have examined the balance abilities of children. Results revealed that balance tends to decrease with increasing age and weight and is closely related to physical movement and to the quality of physical movement of children and adolescents.
Osterroth, A./Spang, F./Gießing, J. (2012): Die kurzfristigen physiologischen Auswirkungen einer täglichen Sportstunde. Ergebnisse einer Pilotstudie mit Schülerinnen und Schülern einer vierten Klasse, in: Sportunterricht 1/2012, S. 14-19.
Giese, M./Gießing, J./Eichmann, B. (2013): Besondere Kinder brauchen besonderen Sportunterricht, in: Sportpädagogik 5/2013, S. 38-41.
In order to investigate the relationship between physical movement, experimentation and the scientific curiosity “experimental backpacks” are used, which include thematic experimental material (Schaumann). The children can choose between more complicated and less complicated experiments. The aim is to investigate how physical movement and experimentation relate to each other in nature- and culture-oriented environments (Sinning, Gießing, Schaumann). The relationships between outdoor activity and the pupils’ scientific curiosity was illustrated by the project "Universität in die Grundschule" (Schaumann, Liebert, Schaumann) and the project "Chemie zum Anfassen" (Schaumann and Risch) with the help of an outdoor school and a “Realschule Plus”.
Currently the Institute of Sports Sciences cooperates with the Institute of Environmental Sciences on subject matter. Other joint projects are conceivable as well, for example with other faculties within the department (biology, chemistry, etc.) or with other scientific departments (e.g., psychology , sociology).
Another goal is to support the integration of the project. For this reason, more cooperation partners in the region are needed to obtain valid data (LSB, Pfälzer Sportbund, Unfallkasse Rheinland-Pfalz).

5. Long-term goals and perspectives

The long term goal is a large interdisciplinary research project on education, humans and environment. Whereas this project takes a closer look at particular institutions, an investigation of additional nursery and primary schools could help to solidify the connection between physical movement and the environment. Institutional exercise programs could be also improved. Conducting the project with older children or adolescents could reveal whether relationships among physical activity and other special environments exist and if the quality of physical movement and the development of the children’s personality changes in the long term.

[1] http://www.elternwissen.com/gesundheit/sport-fuer-kinder/art/tipp/klettern-toben-rennen-wie-ihr-kind-von-bewegung-profitiert.html.