Movement scientists and educationalists from the UMCG/University of Groningen are starting research at twelve schools in the northern Netherlands into the effects of a combination of physical activities and maths and language assignments on children’s school performance. In the United States, this approach has already had a positive effect on the linguistic and mathematical skills of children. The researchers have been awarded a grant of nearly EUR 1 million by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) for the research.
In the United States, it has turned out that a programme combining physical activities with maths and language assignments is a very good way of tackling the problem of disadvantaged pupils. Teaching children aspects of reading, spelling and maths while exercising results in better marks. In addition, the children get fitter and have fewer problems with obesity. The programme not only has positive effects in the short term, but also in the long term. It increases the development chances of disadvantaged pupils and offers them better prospects of full participation in society.
The research project will introduce this proven American programme in twelve schools in the north of the Netherlands. The children involved are in groups 4 and 5, aged between seven and nine years old. The children will be followed for three years. The programme has been developed to be as inexpensive as possible. The programme can be applied anywhere, and would be easy to transfer to other schools.
The Ministry of OCW has made a grant of nearly EUR 1 million available for implementing the research project. The research will last a total of four years. If it turns out that the programme has positive effects in the Netherlands too, the approach will be introduced across the country.
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