My own son is easily restless, especially when he is tired. Concentrating on schoolwork becomes a challenge and if there are other restless pupils in his class, the situation becomes very tiresome for him, the rest of the class and the teacher. Finnish teacher and a mother of eight children, Lea Tornberg, had a class like this and decided to do something about this three years ago. She developed a playful exercise center to her class and was amazed by the results she could see: restlessness got reduced, learning results got better and the teacher had more time to help pupils that needed help with learning. The idea behind the “classroom play track” is simple: when a pupil gets tired of sitting still, she or he can go and move around in the play track consisting of rings to hang from, ladders to climb and other simple children’s playful exercise equipment like punching bags.

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LeoDo

LeoDo

Photo credit: LeaDo

The play track addresses also another challenge area: kids don’t move around enough during the day and hence don’t get enough physical exercise. Staring a tablet computer or smart phone only makes things worse; many kids have similar neck and back problems as adults. The LeaDo play track makes kids move around without any extra efforts, they want to go and hang in the rings or climb.

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lillagunga

Finnish Lillagunga offers similar kinds of hanging rings

lillagunga
Lillagunga/Anna Landstedt

The Director General of the Finnish National Agency for Education Olli-Pekka Heinonen has also become familiar with LeaDo play track and has said in the Helsingin Sanomat interview that he is happy to see this type of innovations that understand that physical exercise is not something that is only reserved for the special Physical Education classes, but is something that is weaved into the general learning and achieving learning results. Brain research has shown that exercise helps learning process happening in the brain and therefore Minna Huotilainen, brain researcher from the Helsinki University Education Department welcomes this type of innovation.

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Cover Photo by Karin Lindroos

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Inkeri Mentzoni
I am Inkeri Mentzoni, the founder of Kidemaa. I am a working mother of 8 year old son and we live in Helsinki. I lived 15 years in the United States of America, but I returned to Finland four years ago in order to provide Finnish childhood to my son. I love working and I am grateful that the Finnish lifestyle allows me to pursue my professional goals and be an active mom at the same time. My favourite part of Helsinki: the fact that you can walk almost everywhere and nature is always around you.