“Our philosophy remains simple: to promote physical activity as part of children’s daily routines”

By Gábor Balogh, President of Hungarian School Sport Federation

Hungarian School Sport Federation (HSSF), as one of the biggest civil organisations in Hungary, went through a major transformation in 2012, extending its mission beyond school sport. The mission of our organisation is therefore significantly wider today than it was before: the main goal is to increase the number of children who are actively involved in physical activity programs and promote the concept of health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) and grassroots sport.

HSSF also participates in promoting values like volunteering and social integration through HEPA. To effectively follow these goals, we are also keen to further strengthen our international activities. Today, HSSF is a proud member of the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) and the European Physical Education Association (EUPEA). Alongside like-minded organisations, we managed to build up a truly pan-European event, which – since 2017 – is a key event of ISCA’s NowWeMOVE Campaign and the European Week of Sport. By 2019, we have reached over 40 countries worldwide with this unique program, the European School Sport Day® (ESSD), and we are committed to further develop the program at international level in the next years.

Despite the ambitious goals, our philosophy remains simple: we shall establish the opportunity for all children to participate in sports beyond school PE, and we shall promote physical activity as a part of their daily routine. Following this goal, in 2021 ESSD aims at exploring the topic “MOVEment Spaces” in school settings. By this, ESSD wants to reflect on and place emphasis on three focus areas:

  • to transform a school space into a MOVEment space and find answers to challenges in schools that lack appropriate infrastructure,
  • to use existing equipment in a different, new way: thinking out of the box – be creative, think green and sustainable and
  • to get active in a different way: try something new, with someone new, in a new setting, to exchange ideas, less known games and sports.

MOVEment Spaces are places that encourage local community members to use their surroundings to be active. In school settings it can mean that students, teachers, parents (if possible, with the involvement of the local stakeholders) can re-imagine school facilities into a new and safe MOVEment space not just for one day but possibly for a longer term.

The project implements the objectives included in the EU policies on education and sport in a holistic way; interlinking the policy areas defined in the Guidelines: sport, health and education. ESSD 2021 aims to further strengthen this holistic approach by jointly addressing the promotion of sport, physical activity with the dimension of making active movement spaces, involving students, teachers and local community in a more active way.

We hope that the philosophy behind ESSD – to echo and amplify the societal role of sport and to help children acquire habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle – will be tangible for all partners upon joining our international network of dedicated and determined partners. We hope that this year’s event will be another proof that with a little bit of creativity and dedication can broaden the scope of spaces in and out of school to #BeActive.