Tanja Thinggaard Andersen & Malene Norup Stolpe
University College Copenhagen UCC
Well-being as a concept has appeared on the agenda of the Danish Elementary School. Until now, research focus has been on the connection between different categories of physical activity and well-being. In the present study we want to take a slightly different approach to well-being as we have chosen to investigate how the activities of psychomotor body awareness can help strengthen children’s bodily action competences in school and everyday life to promote well-being and health in a lifelong perspective. The psychomotor activities are characterized by containing both motion-oriented activities and activities focusing on bodily relaxation.
During a ten-week course, five 7th grade classes participated in a psychomotor teaching course three times a week. Subsequently, a qualitative focus group interview examined how the students experienced phenomena in relation to body awareness based on the completed teaching.
The present study shows that the students, during the psychomotor teaching, developed a growing body awareness, expressed as a conscious attention towards inner bodily sensations during class. Moreover, the investigation points out that the incipient body awareness is transmissible to the lived everyday life as a kind of bodily action competence, which makes it possible for the students to have an inner investigative dialogue with their bodies during their everyday life.
Based on our study we want to highlight and discuss how competences related to development of body awareness can contribute to support children’s well-being and health in general in a school context.
In 2015, the project “Psychomotricity in Danish Elementary School” was established, in which Malene and Tanja, in close cooperation, planned, conducted and evaluated the project under the guidance of Dr. Steen Schytte Olsen, Associate Professor in Psychomotor Education, UCC. The project has been affiliated to the UCC research program “Health”. The authors received writing guidance from Dr. Stine Klein Degerbøl, UCC. This article was written in close corporation and the first authorship is equally shared between Malene and Tanja.
TANJA THINGGAARD ANDERSEN has an MA degree in educational psychology and psychomotor therapy, and has been employed at The Psychomotor Education Unit, UCC since 2013. Tanja is employed as Associate Professor and teaches awareness processes and relaxation therapy as well as psychomotor movement activities. She is also involved in the UCC research program “Health”. Tanja focusses particularly on embodiment and sensory learning processes and development in children and adolescents.
MALENE NORUP STOLPE har an MSc in Human Physiology from the University of Copenhagen and has been employed at the Psychomotor Education Unit, UCC since 2013. Malene is currently employed as Associate Professor and teaches natural sciences. Since 2015 Malene has participated in different research studies at the UCC research program “Health”. Malene has a particular focus on health promotion and on training of body awareness in children and adolescents, and especially the neurophysiological mechanisms associated with this topic.
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