Silje Eikanger Kvalø has been working with the intervention study “Active School” which focused on physically active academic lessons in primary schools. A total of nine schools (five intervention and four controls) participated in the one schoolyear RCT study. In addition to regular physical education and physical activity, the intervention model consisted of 2x45 minutes weekly physically active academic lessons, 5x10 minutes physically active homework and physical activity in recesses. Put together, children in the interventions schools were estimated to be physically active 325 minutes every week, while the physically activity in the control group were estimated to 135 minutes (following the national curriculum).
The aim of the study was to investigate if increased physical activity in 5th grade affected children’s core self-regulations; inhibition, working memory and cognitive flexibility (both cognitive and behavior regulation) that are prerequisites for learning academics. Another part of the study was to get insight in perceived barriers and facilitators of implementing physically active academic lessons in schools. The study used a multimethological approach with three quantitative studies and one qualitative study. One article has been published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Sports Science, and three articles are in process. Preliminary findings show that children in the intervention schools improved the cognitive skills express with a 0,21 effect size. The use of physically active academic lessons were well received among school leaders, teachers and children, and was accepted as a meaningful intervention to increase both learning, physical activity and health.
Currently Silje is working to complete her thesis and hopefully she will submit soon.