The Ministry of Education has given the cities of Turku and Oulu a Finnish Schools on the Move award. The awards, worth 5 000 euros, were donated from the revenue of Veikkaus Oy. The awarded sum will be used to promote physical activity among pupils or in the school environment.

The City of Turku initiated the School on the Move project during the academic year 2016-2017, but promoting physical activity among pupils has roots in early 21st century. Development work has been productive and physical activity among children and youth has increased both during the school day and during leisure time.

Turku has persistently put effort into pupil well-being.

The Ministry of Education and Culture thanks Turku for involving pupils, for cross-governmental collaboration between the Education Division and Recreation Division, and for municipal coordination. The results of schools in Turku exceed the national averages in the areas of organising activity, pupil participation and club activities in all forms of schools.

– Turku has persistently put effort into pupil well-being and teachers have made great efforts to renew operational culture. This award is given for the valuable and successful work to promote school well-being, says Service Area Director Tommi Tuominen.

The project in Turku is a national source of inspiration

Schools on the Move in Turku has set an example and acted as a source for ideas for initiating and developing Schools on the Move projects in several cities.

Over 200 hours per week of recreational sports activities in all comprehensive schools

– The City of Turku does bold and determined work to promote well-being and exercise of children and youth. We develop the physical activity of children during school day in a unique participatory manner, says Markus Kalmari, head of the Schools on the Move project steering group in Turku.

Schools on the Move in Turku organises in all comprehensive schools over 200 hours of physical activities per week, which is nationally a significant amount. The effort is also prominently visible in schools.

– In addition to principals, persons in charge of Schools on the Move in schools as well as local sports clubs have a key role in developing operational culture. The Schools on the Move project takes many forms such as different physical activities during school breaks, long breaks and recess activators, training, new equipment for school breaks, clubs promoting physical activity,  functional teaching methods, small-scale renovations and involving pupils in designing and carrying out activities. There is a great need for developing children’s exercise culture, and in this project, we have taken steps in the right direction. In the future, we continue to need significant effort both in Turku and nationally, the Schools on the Move project coordinators in Turku Annukka Muuri and Marie Rautio-Sipilä state.

Also the comprehensive development process of the activity, taking into consideration both the social and athletic aspect, has been praised.

– Intense collaboration with national experts has been crucial for the project and has ensured the best possible expertise for development work. Cooperation between the different divisions of the City of Turku and organisations has been essential, says Kalmari.

The national award was given in Helsinki by Esko Ranto, Director General at the Ministry of Education and Culture. The award was received on behalf on the City of Turku by Tommi Tuominen, Annukka Muuri and Marie Rautio-Sipilä.

The Schools on the Move programme is one of the spearhead projects of the Finnish Government, with having every comprehensive school pupil engage in physical activity at least one hour per day as the objective. The goal is to make the programme national, extending to all comprehensive schools in Finland. The Schools on the Move programme in Turku is carried out through multidisciplinary work by different city divisions. The project is coordinated by the Education Division and the Recreation Division.

IMAGE: Schools on the Move