Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Ferrero and Monash partner on Joy of moving program

The Monash–Ferrero Joy of moving program in Australia is expanding to bring research-backed movement breaks to more schools – with a unique wellbeing component.

Australian children of all abilities will soon be able to access the world-leading Joy of moving program in Australia under a new partnership between Monash University and Ferrero.

The alliance will see the Joy of moving program in Australia leap from paper to practice in an expanded rollout, and made available to more teachers, thanks to philanthropic support from Ferrero.

The local Joy of moving program takes primary school children on a fun and educational journey, connecting physical movement to their wellbeing. Teachers use storybooks, video animation and physical activities to help children learn how to manage emotions in practical – and joyful – ways.

Professor Rinehart, Director of Krongold (Research) at Monash, believes now is the perfect time for more schools to get on board.

“The importance of physical activity and mental health in childhood has become a critical issue since worldwide lockdowns prevented many children from being active.

“Teachers who participated in the trial program have told us how easy it is to implement, and how much it has helped their students develop strategies to stay happy, calm and positive in the classroom,” Professor Rinehart said.

Bringing a global movement to local classrooms

The Joy of moving program is part of Ferrero’s global social responsibility program, developed together with Dr Caterina Pesce and her team at Rome University’s ‘Foro Italico’, MIUR of the Piedmont Region and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). It has been widely validated as an educational model in physical activity with innovative features.

So far, the Joy of moving program has inspired 2.6 million children in 28 countries to get active in ways that help them grow.

Ferrero Australia’s Managing Director Massimo D’Ambrosio is incredibly proud of the impact Joy of moving has already had in Australia.

“We have been delighted to work with Professor Nicole Rinehart and her research team on the Australian iteration of our Joy of moving program and now, to be able to expand its rollout to more schools and children,” he said.

“The Joy of moving initiative is very close to our hearts at Ferrero here in Australia and around the world.”

The first phase has been trialled

The first phase of the Joy of moving program in Australia was trialled in mainstream and specialist schools and was designed to be accessible with no need for specialist equipment, a facilitator or spaces.

Research showed that:

  • Students and teachers from both mainstream and specialist schools responded positively to the program.
  • The program helped students from both settings to be aware of the connection between movement and emotions.
  • Increased autonomous motivation was linked to better mental health outcomes and higher levels of physical activity in children.

Meeting of minds guides the next phase

Professor Rinehart’s team of multidisciplinary researchers continue to lead the Joy of moving program as it enters the next stage – collaborating with teachers and the government to roll the program out to more schools.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue this partnership with Ferrero. Their generous support means the initiative can benefit not just students in Victoria – but in schools right across Australia,” Professor Rinehart said.

“A positive attitude towards movement is fundamental in helping children become the healthiest version of themselves, and we are so proud to create a program that has been embraced by so many children, and their teachers.”

Ferrero’s generous philanthropic gift contributes to the university’s Change It. For Future Generations campaign, which is the largest public fundraising initiative in Monash’s history.

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