Carsten Sandahl & Helle Winther
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen
In Copenhagen the association “Familieidræt” (Family Activity Club) has over the course of only a few years grown to become a member magnet. Dedicated and playful instructors lead activities that are intended to challenge both adults and children. Here, they can play and move together and at the same time experience each other in other situations than in everyday life.
“Familieidræt” has existed for many years at Danish Folk high schools as part of children’s summer camps, but with the Copenhagen based association, “Familieidræt” has truly been put on the map.
This article is based on a limited study carried out on a “Familieidræt” team of 5-8 year olds and their parents.
The article focuses on the qualities and potentials of “Familieidræt” through short situated narratives. There is a special emphasis on concepts such as time, presence, and stimulating relations. Adults having time for presence and space for stimulating relations is very important for children, and at the same time it is a challenge for many families in late modern society to find time to be present.
The article finds that “Familieidræt” can be invigorating for the parent–child connection, and that the movement activities can aid the development of self-worth in participating children.
CARSTEN SANDAHL is a master’s programme student in the field of sport and exercise at the University of Copenhagen. Carsten also teaches sports for prisoners in Vestre Fængsel, a Danish prison. Previously, he was an instructor in the association “Familieidræt” where he taught children and their parents with a focus on different games. Last but not least Carsten has been a running instructor, where he focused on getting people to enjoy running and living an active life.
HELLE WINTHER, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in dance and movement psychology at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen. She is also a trained body and dance psychotherapist. Helle is the coordinator for the research strategy “Embodiment, Learning and Social Change”. She is also leader of the studies of dance, movement teaching and movement psychology. She works with the existential and inclusive elements in dance, play, and bodywork for many groups. Her research and teaching is focused on dance and movement pedagogy, dance therapy, movement psychology, and the language of the body in professional practice. Furthermore, she has educated generations of university students in movement and PE for families. Helle has published six books and numerous research articles about her work. Her work has been portrayed in Danish TV (DR1, DR2, TV2) and in radio portraits. She has received three teaching awards at the University of Copenhagen.
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