Luxembourg's Minister of Sport, Georges Engel, and the Minister of Education, Childhood and Youth, Claude Meisch, participate in the "Clever Move" action day; Credit: MENJE

Luxembourg's Minister of Education, Childhood and Youth, Claude Meisch, and the Minister of Sport, Georges Engel, recently visited sports workshops as part of the "Clever Move" action day.

This event brings together one class per primary school that has joined the initiative "Bewegte Schule und Maison relais" (schools and "maisons relais", i.e. childminding services, on the move). The day of action is organised with the support of the National Sports Institute (Institut national des sports - INS), Sportlycée, the League of Primary Education Athletic Associations (Ligue des Associations Sportives de l'Enseignement Primaire - Lasep) and Restopolis.

20 municipalities are now taking part in the "Clever Move" project launched in 2014, meaning that there are currently about 2,500 pupils who experience movement in their daily school life.

The two ministers expressed their delight at the success of this daily practice. Minister Meisch stated: "The need to move is a natural need in children. Actively investing a few minutes each day in physical activity contributes significantly to the general wellbeing and healthy development of each child". Minister Engel added: "Small cause, big effect - the Clever Move project helps to incorporate movement and physical activity into the daily lives of schoolchildren".

The health risks of a sedentary lifestyle are well known. There are many initiatives in Luxembourg to encourage physical activity among the general population and the youngest in particular. The main objective of the national interministerial action plan "Gesond Iessen, Méi beweegen" (eat healthily, move more) is thus the promotion of a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

In the framework of "Bewegte Schule und Maison relais", in addition to their compulsory weekly physical education and sports lessons, children move and exert themselves every day, for fifteen to 20 minutes. Teachers can choose the activities on the basis of the educational sheets made available to them.

In the early days of the project, the movement mainly accompanied teaching, with a few minutes of relaxation and dynamic sitting stations, for example. It has since become an integral part of the course and learning.: pupils tell a story while walking, physically grasp the objects to be analysed, carry out experiments using their bodies, etc.

In the four maisons relais associated with the project, physical activity is encouraged when doing homework. 

The dedicated trilingual (Luxembourgish, French and German) website offers ideas for physical activities and games to do with children and information on teacher training. The aim is to motivate as many schools as possible to voluntarily participate in the "Bewegte Schule und Maison relais" movement to promote physical activity, encourage learning and improve the quality of education.

Participating municipalities: Fischbach, Larochette and Nommern were the pilot municipalities, later joined by Beaufort, Berdorf, Berbourg, Bissen, Dahlem, Heffingen, Koerich, Lintgen, Lorentzweiler, Mersch, Reisdorf, Roeser, Saeul, Schifflange (Albert Wingert), Useldange, Vichten and Waldbillig.

Participating maisons relais: Bissen, Lintgen, Saeul and Vichten.