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Table 1 Main methods and findings from development and pilot phase of Schools in Motion (SiM) program

From: Developing a comprehensive school-based physical activity program with flexible design – from pilot to national program

Time Method Main finding/ input to program
2014–2016 Literature review
Team brainstorming
Schools are promising venues for intervention as children with different socio-economic background can be reached.
The period between 6 and 12 years is critical in forming PA habits.
Need for multi-component change program towards PA-friendly everyday arrangement of school life, practices of school staff and students.
Sustainability of changes as main aim.
2015 Focus group studies Schools are interested in encouraging students PA during the school day in addition to PE classes.
To encourage PA, the modification of rules, re-design of space, tools and training for development of new practices are needed in schools.
2015 Objective PA measurements Overall PA levels are low and the potential of school setting is underused
since 2016 Action research (incl. Conversations with school staff members and students; observations; analysis of Facebook group posts and action plans of schools; analysis of the feedback from inspirational seminars arranged for the schools within SiM program) Each school in unique and therefore, the solutions and focuses of the schools are different.
Supporting the autonomy of schools is a key element of reducing the odds of dropout.
The changes in school are possible when there is a team leading the SiM activities and management is included.
2016–2019 Piloting of materials and tools for active lessons, active recess and SiM teams: analysis of the feedback from training seminars and participants’ diaries Providing ready-to-use materials increase the implementation of new methods and SiM principles
2017–2019 Piloting play-leaders training sub-program: analysis of feedback from training camps and interviews with participants Involvement of students and development of their training and rotation increases sustainability of intervention program
Since 2017 Self-evaluation tool Changes in school culture take time but they are possible. Providing fast and simple feedback to schools about their results is a great motivation for them to continue.
2016–2019 Web-based questionnaire The answers of school staff and younger students indicate the gradual, but not linear change towards PA-friendly school culture.
In addition to providing fast and simple feedback to schools, it also provides important input to our program development.
Selection and adaptation of the most promising indicators for PA-friendly school culture which was included in the 2020 national school satisfaction survey.