EDC is collaborating on a ground-breaking program in Germany designed to improve education by attending to the physical, social, and mental health of teachers and students, as well as the quality of the learning environment. The project, known as Anschub.de, is a collaboration among the German Bertelsmann Foundation, many other German organizations, and EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs.
According to a 2003 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, Germany’s scores were only average internationally in reading competency and mathematics. At the same time, studies showed high rates of teen smoking and troubling indicators of nutrition and physical activity among youth. Unlike previous school health programs in Germany, Anschub.de sets out to establish a direct link between student academic performance and health.
Teacher workshops have focused on stress reduction and relaxation techniques. For parents, a workshop focuses on creating a positive climate at home through improved communication between parents and children. Activities for students are designed to encourage them to take good care of themselves and their environments. Some of the activities included the creation of “green classrooms” filled with plants cared for by students, distribution of pedometers to students so that they can monitor their exercise levels, and changes in the food choices offered during breaks.
Partners will continue to support the implementation of this program through 2007, when Bertelsmann hopes to expand it to other schools and districts in Germany.
Originally published on April 30, 2006