Who are we?
Parents who care. Public movement for proactive learning "Let Kids Move!", supported by KEENETHICS IT Company in a
framework of its corporate social responsibilities set itself
ambitious goals – to change the worldview of Ukrainians on the
problem of student inactive lifestyle and its horrible
consequences – the epidemic of obesity, heart diseases, and
diseases of musculoskeletal system, etc.
Our goal is to change an accent in the school education reform
into an introduction of proactive learning with the
strengthening of the health component through
implementation of standing desks in the educational process, as
an alternative to existing models of school furniture.

We believe that such a step could be the first to implement the
global changes in the school environment along with a healthy
diet, the game component increase, and school space
rethinking.
Why has a school been chosen as the target audience?
The report of the Ad hoc Working Group on Science and
Evidence for Ending Childhood Obesity of the World Health
Organization (WHO) states that lifestyle behaviours have
significant influence on human physical and mental health; the
WHO experts come to a clear conclusion: "obesity begets
obesity", and "healthy living begets healthy living". 1
In other words, childhood years are of important significance
for health in adulthood.

In addition, children spend a huge part of their life at school.
According to the data of analytical study on education in OECD
countries 2 , students are expected to receive an average of 4
717 hours of instruction during primary school and an average
of 3 034 hours during lower secondary education.
In fact, given the time that children spend on hobby groups and
homework, the school is the place that most affects the student
behaviour habits.

However, traditional school does little to mitigate the
risk of non-communicable diseases. In the era of the advanced
technology domination, developed transport, when there is no
need to work at an early age, which make the everyday life of
children inactive, the school, unfortunately, is the place that
supports patterns of inertia, especially among teenagers.
But this can and must be changed!

School should become a place of proactive learning, which forms right behaviour models for children and teenagers from the point of view of
contemporary challenges. By laying a foundation for mobility
values at school age, the society will be healthier tomorrow.
Why should the classroom
ergonomics change?
Countries where students demonstrate high performance in school, e.g. such as Finland, can boast not only of a high level of education funding, but also of additional positive changes that care about a child. This is of course the care about a teacher, as well as a change of view on school and classroom ergonomics – barrier-less space, play space, toilets and dining-room accessible and interesting to students... Due to the classroom environment – one of the advanced ideas that are used here is the emphasis on changing the dynamic postures.

Ukrainian schools are still constructed according to the patterns of 70s of the twentieth century, ignoring both time challenges, in particular inactive lifestyle of children and teenagers, and changes in approaches to understanding the comfort – too small classrooms, uncomfortable toilets etc... Not to mention the furniture. No traditional school has furniture
considering the anthropological characteristics of children
(including age-specific growth dynamics).
As noted by A. Mandal, "modern furniture in schools... is constructed in such a way that no one can use it properly. Each day people sit for many hours hunched over their tables in postures extremely harmful to the back. No one should be surprised that more than half of the population today is
complaining of backache. A similar gap between theory and
reality is not found in any other field of human activity.

Changing the ergonomics of the Ukrainian school and classroom is a matter of adults consciousness and responsibility for the fate of their own children. We are aware that changes require a lot of financial support, however, introducing the standing desks into the learning process as an
alternative to existing tables is relatively an inexpensive way to change the situation and can be the first step towards a global change to proactive learning with the enhancement of health component. A small investment in the future will produce unbelievably larger effect!

Although the standing desks are mainly used to solve the problems of inactive lifestyle, yet improvement of student cognitive function is their other unexpected positive effect.

According to the latest study of the team of authors, Katharina Wick and other, conducted in 2018, the following conclusion was made, employing standing desks at schools for at least 1 hour per day serves as an appropriate and effective opportunity to improve the student cognitive function.


Why is standing at the desk more useful than sitting?
It is estimated that compared with sitting quietly, a person's caloric consumption is three to six times higher when being moderately active (3-6 METs [1]) and more than six times higher when being vigorously active (>6 METs). [2] That means that moderate activity can be a supplement to vigorous-intensity activity. As it is known, according to the WHO recommendations "Global recommendations on physical activity for health for children and young people", vigorous-intensity activities should be incorporated, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least three times per week. And that are these recommendations that the idea of physical education lessons in schools is based on.

In view of schoolchildren lifestyle during non-school time, it is hard if not impossible to achieve moderate activity.

A good idea here is the standing desks. That are the desks at which students do not sit, but stand during the class. Why such desks are better alternative for traditional ones?
First, there are differences in the developments of school-age children, what makes it impossible to use the same chairs and tables for all children of the same age. It is not easy to maintain a correct posture while sitting. Second, there is no energy expenditure during sitting, what has negative influence on human digestive system, back, neck, blood circulation, etc. Third, due to the increased spinal loading a sitting child gets tired quickly, loses its attention concentration, etc. And the last but not least – sitting at desks (tables) is a product of the twentieth century, and it is not tenable towards request of public relations in the twenty-first century.

The standing desks have a meaningful effect in moderate activity. So, while learning at the standing desks, children with a standard body weight index burn 15 to 25% of calories, and overweight and those with obesity burn 25 to 35% of calories; The standing postures are more natural for humans and prevents orthopaedic degradation and dysfunctions, including backache, neck pain, etc. The standing desks create a foundation for the environment of movement, and as the researchers say, physical activity is a cognitive candy, that improves attention concentration and cognitive function of a child. [3]
[1] MET –is the ratio of a person's working metabolic rate relative to their resting metabolic rate. One MET is defined as the energy cost of sitting quietly and is equivalent to a caloric consumption of 1kcal/kg/hour.
[2] What is Moderate-intensity and Vigorous-intensity Physical Activity? Access mode: https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/physical_...
[3] www.mdpi.com, www.mobilitywod.com and Dr. Mark Benden – Texas A&M Source Access mode: http://standupkids.org
Which body organs suffer the most while sitting in the long-term perspective?
The human body was not created to sit. As it was repeatedly confirmed experimentally, the pressure between the intervertebral discs is maximal in sitting position, it decreases by 30% in the standing position, and by 50% while lying down. The pressure between the discs varies from 99 to 171 kg in a sitting position, and from 85 to 119 kg while standing. [1]
Conventional chairs, which are often seen at school, cause:
- lack of blood circulation;
- curvature of the spine;
- muscles tension in the neck, shoulders, and lower back;
- increased pressure on the spine;
- a constriction of the digestive organs. [2]

[1] Yarovyi V. K. Clinical manual medicine: the textbook for higher medical educational institutions, I-IV accreditation level. P.66.
[2] Ergonomics for Schoolchildren Schoolbags, Furniture, Computers, Visual & Auditory Access mode: https://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/kinrec/bsal/miniu/summer/backpacks.pdf
What similar campaigns are there in the world?
The use of standing desks has its long history, initially such tables were produced in manufactures, however, with the advent of mass production, the production of tables both for standing and sitting was established. The Sidney School Furniture Company was a pioneer. In 1881 it began to produce popular at that time "Fashion" furniture for classrooms. However due to the particular circumstances nobody recalled the standing desks for a long time. Only in 70s of the twenties century did the Ukrainian-born Russian doctor, the scientist, and the teacher-innovator V.F. Bazarnyi draw attention to the need and importance of movement, especially for a child, and then to the return to the idea of using the standing desks in the educational process [1] .

The main idea of V.F. Bazarnyi was "to change dynamic postures" of a student during the class. The idea was supported and implemented on practice. Several schools in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus carried out an experiment providing separate classes with standing desks. In particular, the secondary school #6 in Brest, Belurus, joined the experiment. Already in the first months of the experiment, the improvement of attention concentration was obvious. Children were more open during classes, their motor activity increased (what corresponds to the physiological needs and rhythms of a child's body). Over the past ten years the experimental component of the standing desks introduction in the educational process has increased significantly in the whole world, including the American continent. In his book "Get up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It" James A. Levine describes an experiment in changing the school environment for students based on the Rochester Sport Club. In new environment the students were able to move. It was called the School of the Future. The project, which began in 2007 and was focused on proactive learning system, has received positive feedback from both the students and the teachers. But the most interesting feedbacks were received from the parents. They informed that their children were happier than before, and that even their relationships with children had been improved. [2] In 2015 for the first time in the history of the USA in the city of Vallecito all the classrooms in secondary schools were equipped with standing desks in a framework of the StandUpKids Project [3] .
Tracy Smith, the Vallecity Elementary School Principal, stated that "While the students were initially tired from standing all day, within a few months, they were more focused, confident and productive" [4] . A year after StandUpKids.org, the organization towards the re-equipment of schools in the USA, was established more than 27 thousand of children across the country either got their own standing desk or had an access to such workplace during the school day! Before that, in 2013, in Australian Melbourne (Mont Albert Primary School) the standing desks were installed as an experiment under the supervision of the Professor David Dunstan, the head of the Institute for Physical Activity Research. A similar experiment was carried out in 2017 in small town of Kewstoke, UK. Kewstoke Primary is the fifth school on the Foggy Albion to start using the standing desks. "In fact, the increase of energy spent by the students was not the main reason for ordering the desks", – said headteacher Sara Harding.


On the contrary, the desks are a part of the policy of increasing the comfortable education of children. The use of tables, as a rule, is limited to those students who "in old times would have been called as fidgety".[5] Common sense suggests that what is good for children's health is good for society as a whole. Proactive learning as one of the methods to overcome the epidemic of non-communicable diseases is included in recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) [6] , among members of which is also Ukraine. These recommendations can be implemented in the education system, in particular, the educational standards of the New Ukrainian School (NUSH) for primary education, among other things, promote and oblige schools "to use a model of healthy behaviour" of students [7] .

There is also no contradiction between the standing desks and the state standards that regulate the requirements of school furniture for the New Ukrainian School (in particular the state standard (DSTU GOST) 22046:2004, the state standard (DSTU) EN1729-2:2004, and technical specifications that are required under the Law of Ukraine on the safety of non-food products). Thus, in accordance with the standards (requirements – look the reference) a possibility to adjust the height and inclination angle must be considered in the ergonomics of student desks [8] .

The standing desks actually are tables for learning, that grow together with the students. So, there are no strict restrictions in Ukraine on the introduction of innovative educational changes, that enhance the health component and support proactive learning. There are only inertia of educational process and reluctance of changes by some heads of institutions and regional educational departments.
Who is funding "Let Kids Move!" campaign?
Public movement for proactive learning "Let Kids Move!" does not aim at obtaining personal, financial benefits from the project implementation. We are open for co-operation and will be grateful for financial support of those who believe in high ideas of humanism.

Currently, we have developed a schedule for grant applying to well-known world and European donors.

Financial support from KEENETHICS IT company within its corporate social responsibility was the first impact for realization of the idea to implement proactive learning with strengthening the health component in national educational system.
KEENETHICS is a a solution-oriented software engineering company, based in Lviv, that provides development of modern web and mobile applications. In their professional activity the company and the team apply high ethic standards and belief in innovative development. The dissemination and scaling of positive experience are the key to development of a new social ecosystem. The school plays a crucial role in this process.

With support from KEENETHICS IT company, the civic movement for proactive learning "Let Kids Move!" has started its public activity and is eager to expand it, lobbying the idea of proactive learning and supporting for dissemination of best practices at school level, and creating new ecosystems.

They are open for cooperation. If you share our values and want to change the world for the better, you are welcome to the team!
How to overcome inertia and resistance of school teachers, and principals?
Education refers to traditional social institutions and is considered to be conservative. Common conservative approach cuts off a lot of things that can do harm to children. Therefore innovations in education have their own way, which is based on experimental implementation of this or that innovation. Positive experience allows to take a decision on possibility to spread innovations on the whole system. However, even in a similar case the implementation of innovative changes needs its driver, in other words a person or a group of people who would lobby and "push" the changes. Usually parents themselves are such drivers. The drivers are very often represented by students and teachers-innovators, less often – by principals-innovators.
These groups should become a pillar for changes, the environment and resource of support and inspiration.

If you are eager to implement the proactive learning project at your school, please find a useful instruction below:

  1. Read the research materials and make sure dynamic posture changes are really better decision than traditional seating during the lesson.
  2. Download illustrative and educational materials and distribute them among children and parents in your class, introduce the research to a class teacher or a teacher you trust most.
  3. Discuss the possibility of introducing the standing desks as an experiment, two-three desks for a class at the beginning with the possibility for all willing students to work at them during the lesson.
  4. Write to us so that we can engage your class to a wider community of parents-children-teachers and principals-innovators to achieve better effect.
  5. Do not give up if plans fail the first time. Changes are a long and not a simple process, but the result will exceed all the efforts.
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