Perceptions of a School-Based Self-Management Program Promoting an Active Lifestyle among Elementary Schoolchildren, Teachers, and Parents

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education

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Greet Maria CardonGhent University

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Leen Liesbeth HaerensGhent University

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Stefanie VerstraeteGhent University

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Ilse de BourdeaudhuijGhent University

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The present study aimed to investigate how classroom-based self-management lessons to promote physical activity were perceived by students, teachers, and parents. The self-management lessons were implemented by an external physical education specialist in 20 class groups at eight elementary schools. Program perceptions were evaluated in 412 children (mean age 9.7 ± 0.7) using a short questionnaire. Oral surveys were used with 20 teachers and 50 parent participants. Most children were enthusiastic about the program and more than half of them reported being more active. Teachers and parents also perceived the lessons as useful and half of them reported an improvement in children’s physical activity awareness. Eighty percent of the teachers and 32% of the parents perceived an increase in children’s physical activity levels. The SPARK self-management physical activity program appears to promote an active lifestyle in children and was positively received; the implementation of the program by the teachers needs further evaluation.

The authors are with the Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, and Haerens is also with the Research Foundation–Flanders, Brussels, Belgium.

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