Competences as a Solution to Global Problems​

Co-founded by the European Union

About project

Mission of the project is to develop children’s competences of ecological awareness and importance of being physically active, as well as to help teachers to get skills for developing such competences in children. Vision of the project is to build educational systems which would educate new generations according to the highest moral standards and the key competences for lifelong learning („Council recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning“, 2018).

Specifically, our project has two important goals: 1) that children aged 8 to 10 become environmentally aware and acquire specific skills to protect their environment and 2) to become aware of the importance of physical activity for their health and acquire knowledge how to exercise and monitor the effects of such exercise on their own body. The importance of these two goals has been recognized by the European Union and financed within the Erasmus + project of Small-scale partnerships in the school education, called Competences as a solution to global problems (COMPASS). The coordinator of the project is Educational Centre Cloud Giraffe from Serbia, which organizes educational work in the day care centre for children “Cloud Giraffe” in Zemun (Belgrade, Serbia). Partners in the project are two eco-schools: Elementary school “Branko Radičević” from Batajnica (Serbia) and “Zakladni skola” from Prerov (Czech Republic).

Why is physical exercise so important?

First, proper physical activity uses the energy we take in with food and practically cleans our body. Because of that and hormonal response organism is more resistant to numerous diseases. There is agreement of the world’s leading scientific organizations that physical activity can replace any medicine (as a prevention), and no medicine can replace physical activity. Exercise aimed at improving physical abilities, such as strength and endurance, has a positive effect on indicators of the child’s current and future health: lower risk of obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and better status of the muscles and bones (“Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Childhood and Adolescence Affects Future Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies”, Mintjens et al., 2018; “The Health Benefits of Muscular Fitness for Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”, Smith et al., 2014). Through a program of physical activities adapted to children in younger school age, each child should find pleasant physical activities, and then, through these physical activities, become competent to engage in the physical exercise in general. The first step towards this goal is children’s enjoyment in various games and interesting physical activities, but also the acquisition of basic motor skills that will contribute in making them feel more competent and confident in exercising.

Why are environmental activities so important?

In recent years, environmental topics have become increasingly important. Global phenomena such as the greenhouse effect affect the quality of life on the planet Earth. What can human do? We can fight against these negative phenomena by acquiring ecological knowledge and ecologically conscious lifestyle (“Development of Secondary School Students’ Green Skills for Sustainable Development”, Thirupathy & Mustapha, 2020). From rational use of water, food and energy sources, to responsible use of raw materials and products, as well as waste management. From the earliest childhood, children should spend their time in nature and have pleasant experiences in it, in order to love nature and create a relationship of respect for it, as for the place where we all live in. After that, the child will know the value of nature, be aware of the risk of irresponsible human behaviour towards nature, as well as of the importance of environmentally conscious behaviour for the well-being of the Earth and the whole life on the Earth. In addition to getting to know nature, children should learn “green skills” such as waste separation, recycling, making compost from kitchen waste, etc. By doing so, beside awareness of the preciousness of nature, they will also have specific skills (competencies) on how to live and act in an ecologically sustainable way.