SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

September 08, 2016 10:00 ET

University of Calgary's Faculty of Kinesiology launches 'Gift of Play'

Volunteers use stencils to paint games in schoolyards to encourage an active, healthier lifestyle

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - September 08, 2016) - The Faculty of Kinesiology is giving elementary students a back-to-school present. On Saturday, September 10 more than 100 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community volunteers will use newly created stencils to help give the 'Gift of Play' by painting games on 50 school tarmacs in Calgary. (Olympian Erica Wiebe will help launch this initiative at a media event at 9:30 am this morning. See details below.)

"The Faculty of Kinesiology wanted to give back to the community as our way to celebrate the University of Calgary's 50th anniversary by providing a low-cost initiative to help children and youth in Calgary become more physically active," says Penny Werthner, dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. "We are painting 50 schools this weekend, and although the project is a one-time event, the stencils and resources will be available to schools across the city and province."

In Canada, less than 10 per cent of children aged 5 - 17 meet the recommended 60-minutes daily of moderate to vigorous activity levels. There has been emerging research indicating that the use of painted lines on playground tarmac surfaces can be an effective and low cost intervention to help increase moderate to vigorous activity levels in children, according to ParticipACTION's 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.

"I'm thrilled about this initiative as it will give our school and others in the city a bit of a playground pick-me-up," says Richard Campbell, principal of Sacred Heart School. "I also love the fact that students were involved in creating some of the activities that can be played on tarmacs and on the school fields."

The faculty is partnering with the Be Fit For Life Network, a provincial initiative comprised of nine regional centres working in coordination to support a more physically active Alberta. The Be Fit For Life Network has created a new resource called 'Move and Play through Recess.' It is a compilation of games and activities to go with the stencils, as well as additional games and activities that support play in open spaces and fields.

Once the project is underway, kinesiology researchers plan to study the effectiveness of painting games in encouraging greater physical activity in the schools. If schools are interested in borrowing the stencil kit, they can contact their local Be Fit For Life Centre.

WHAT: Media availability/Photo Op at launch of Gift of Play initiative

WHEN: 9:30 am, Thursday, September 8

WHERE: Sacred Heart Elementary School, 1312 - 15 Street SW, Calgary, AB Meet on playground tarmac (east side of the school)

PARKING: Parking is available in school parking lot along the south side of the school (14 Ave SW)

WHO: Kinesiology Alumna Erica Wiebe, Gold Medalist Rio Olympics
Richard Campbell, Principal, Sacred Heart School
Penny Werthner, Dean, Faculty of Kinesiology
Students and Teachers, Sacred Heart Elementary School
Leah Yardley, Coordinator, Calgary Be Fit For Life Centre

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts go to our media center at ucalgary.ca/mediacentre

Contact Information

  • Media Contact
    Leanne Yohemas
    Director, Communications and Marketing, Faculty of Kinesiology
    403.220.7652
    587.438.9011 - Mobile
    lmyohema@ucalgary.ca