“After the effort, my students are finally more attentive”

From now on, Enzo, Adèle, Basile and the twenty other students of CE1-CE2 from the public school Jacques-Prévert, in Bruz (Ille-et-Vilaine), a town on the outskirts of Rennes, are used to it. When their classmates rush to their classroom at 8:30 a.m., they stay in the courtyard to participate in thirty minutes of physical activity. A ritual launched by their teacher, Arthur Guenegou. This Friday, January 20, the 33-year-old school teacher inspects the frozen tarmac. He claps his hands. The children surround him. No question of canceling the session. Relief in the audience. However, the session will take place in the courtyard.

Responsible for organizing the warm-up of the week, Basile hastens to install studs to delimit a circuit, then rushes. The others follow him. A few laps later, Mr. Guenegou grabs a piece of chalk and draws the day’s exercise on the board in the playground. It was supposed to be a great dodgeball revisited; ice forces, it will ultimately be a relay race.

“Physical activity should not only be used to keep children in good physical shape. I use it to practice other skills, such as oral expression, mathematics or Breton”, whispers the teacher of this bilingual class.

CE1-CE2 students from the Jacques-Prévert public school, in Bruz (Ille-et-Vilaine), train a few minutes before starting their day's lessons, as part of the Bouge! program, on January 20 2023.
The exercise session ends with a stretching session led by one of the students from the Jacques-Prévert school, in Bruz, on January 20, 2023.

Stopwatch in hand, he watches his students go back and forth punctuated with jumps with both feet. Alone, two little girls get involved without too much enthusiasm. “At the beginning, I feared the impact of the morning sessions on the mood of the class. I was afraid of provoking excitement. After the effort, my students are finally more attentive and really ready to work »observes the professor.

Forty teachers involved in the program

He has been lavishing this sporting ritual for two years. At the start of the 2021 school year, he volunteered to join the Bouge! program, orchestrated by Stade Rennes, the football club, to fight against sedentary lifestyles among children. About twenty teachers took part in the test year; now there are twice as many.

At each start of the school year, the teachers develop a week of activities with their pupils. Stade Rennes collects, verifies and then makes suggestions in order to propose a weekly programme. At the same time, the teachers discuss and help each other on a WhatsApp group. Experimentation pleases, but above all “provides a reassuring framework”, according to the teachers. Especially since the Ministry of National Education published, on July 28, 2022, a directive imposing the “generalization” thirty minutes of daily physical activity (30’APQ) in primary school.

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