SPRING public health project in Nynäshamn Sweden
The SPRING project was a public health project in the municipality during 2008-2011. SPRING is short for Shadow Pedagogy Activity (”R” for ”Rörelse” in Swedish) in Nature and (School) Ground environments. SPRING also means to “run” in Swedish and “spring” in English – now it’s “spring” time for a new way of seeing our children’s and pupils’ outdoor environment.
Nynäshamn Nature School has been the project leader and an overall steering group on department level has made decisions about different actions during the project. Karolinska Institutet has been a partner during the whole project time and responsible for the scientifi part of the project. They have been interested in how work for public health, based on research results (SCAMPER), can be done in a municipality. SPRING is part of a bigger international project called Kidscape.
The actions implemented have been characterized by a democratic process meaning that the staff at schools and preschools and the pupils have taken part to various extent. The actions have mainly been annexation of fields nearby, plantations of trees and bushes and setting up different installations. Common for the actions have been to stimulate increased physical activity and provide more shades in exposed areas. According to the SCAMPER study, bigger areas with shades also lead to more physical activity. The project goal is considered well achieved. The area with vegetation has increased, although segmenting fences are still there. The open sky view area has been decreased thanks to the annexations done, which in turn requires that the children’s play has been moved to the new places. The open sky view area will be further reduced when the newly planted trees and bushes grow. Examples show that SPRING is already considered when planning work in the Nynäshamn municipality. The project has provided several lessons through the process and the result. For example, many of the expectations were not fulfilled, there have been communication problems, a slowness in work and lacking information. The successes of the project are, for example the annexation of land that has been cost efficient, enabled by the project being cross-departmental. The knowledge about the schoolgrounds’ importance for children’s health has increased, a lot thanks to the cooperation with Karolinska Institutet. The project got a good start thanks to several engaged actors. At the end of the project time, and which will be continued after the project, implementation in the regular work was initiated. The work is done in several areas and can be summarized with three words; safety inspection, database and education.
The grass is greener on the other side of the fence
Seven preschools and four primary schools in Nynäshamn municipality have participated in a municipal public health project called SPRING, under supervision of Nynäshamn Nature School. The teachers in the nature school have for a long time been engaged in the schoolgrounds of the schools and preschools in the municipality, and emphasised them as important places for play and areas for goal-oriented pedagogical work.