Examples from practice

Do you want to know more about practice in health promoting schools in other countries? The following case studies present practice examples. You are always welcome to send your own practice exemples to the SHE secretariat.


Latvia: Handwashing campaign

In 2020, a public awareness campaign and a new educational project were implemented in Latvia for different audiences regarding the importance of personal hygiene and proper handwashing. To let other countries learn form Latvia’s experience, highlights from the campaign are shared. Read about the campaign. Since 2016, The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control of Latvia (CDPC) has been hosting educational activities for different audiences regarding the importance of personal hygiene and proper handwashing.

Slovenia: Be Fit Break

The primary school Dolenjske Toplice is located in the southeastern part of Slovenia. The school practices a movement break, named Be Fit Break (Slovene: Bodi fit odmor or BFO). Be Fit Break takes place after the first lesson and it lasts about 5 minutes. The main purpose of the break is for all pupils to fully wake up and exercise in order to improve their learning abilities. It has been proven that morning exercise has a beneficial effect on the body, it improves the mood, and has a positive impact on the brain as it significantly increases the sharpness of mind and the perception, improves the power of memory and deduction and thus prepare the pupils for all the challenges they may face that day. The Be Fit Break is very popular among pupils and teachers and is one of the measures for preventing the negative impact of the modern lifestyle. Read about how it is done (in English) and in Slovenian.

Riding a bicycle is for body advisable

The Slovenian School of Civil Engineering, Land Surveying, and Environmental Studies (a secondary school) in Ljubljana participates in the "Schools for Health" program. As youth's motor skills have significantly declined due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the teachers have decided to encourage the students to do more sports. Being aware of the need for special conditions because of the virus, the students are introduced to sporting activities that can be carried out in nature. A project, "Riding a Bicycle is for Body Advisable", is part of multiple activities to raise awareness of the benefits of bike-riding - from a cheap and virus-safe means of transportation to great sporting activity. Read about the project.

A Swedish school blog inspires to an active life during lock-down

The Swedish school Fredsborgskolan in Åkersberga is a school with Health & Movement as profile. The work of creating active days with health in focus is a challenge when teaching is done largely through digital tasks. Important are therefore exercise breaks/brainbreaks, heart rate-boosting activities, healthy food, value-based work and, of course, active breaks. The school wants the students to feel that they are part of a context even though they work from home, the feeling of unity is extremely important. Through a school blog, the teachers want to inspire children, young people and guardians to a more active everyday life. Have a look at the blog - it's in Swedish but there are lots of instructive videos.

Sport Activities During the Pandemic in a Slovenian School

Sport activities during COVID-19 pandemic have been quite a challenge. Kids were, most of the time, closed in between 4 walls with limited movement. All indoor and outdoor sports were mostly banned, and all trainings were suspended. Their work for school was mostly behind the computer. They were socially distanced from their friends and in many cases, they were not able to do things they like. At the elementary school Milojke Štrukelj Nova Gorica in Slovenia, sport teachers have tried keeping sport hours (as a subject) on the normal routine with some theoretical and practical tasks. Read the story.

Maintaining Health Through Relaxation Techniques

A new member school of the Slovenian healthy school network, Osnovna šola Dekani, has focused on preventing stress and caring for a more relaxed working day at school. An initiative is informing all 6th to 9th-grade students about the importance of everyday relaxation for mental and physical health. They are shown various relaxation techniques in the hope that everyone finds one or more techniques that work for them. Read the case story from Slovenia with many practical examples on how to focus on relaxation.

Hungarian Spine Society’s Prevention Program

The physically inactive, sedentary lifestyle of today’s children and young adults often results in bad posture, improper muscle balance and overloading of the spine. The only possibility for prevention is daily physical education and, within that, regularly performed special posture correction exercises for all school-children. To improve the children’s chance for a healthy life, the Hungarian Spine Society launched it’s Prevention Program with two goals: that schools offer daily physical education classes and teach special posture correction exercises to every student in daily physical education. Read about the prevention program.

COVID-19 and Social Inequalities

Before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil already faced situations of imbalance in its political, economic, and social structure, and during the period of social distancing, social inequality has deepened. The urgency for a new approach between the school and the economically vulnerable population has encouraged schools to act. Schools are making a participatory diagnosis of the health situation of the wider school community, observing the demands related to socioeconomic factors that impact prevention, dissemination, and control measures in relation to the coronavirus. Read more about how an ongoing Brazilian research project guides participation.

School Gardening, as a Complex Health Promoting Activity

In Hungary, the holistic health promotion (HHP) for schools is prescribed by law since 2012 and it means a holistic, whole school approach. HHP comprises four health promoting tasks for teachers to do in their everyday work: 1st healthy eating; 2nd daily physical education and other physical activities; 3rd use of appropriate pedagogic methods and the arts to enhance mental health; 4th improving health literacy. Beyond public health actors also other sectors give help to the teachers in their HHP tasks. Read the article ‘Intersectoral help for schools: School gardening, as a complex health promoting activity’ and the publication ‘Basic School Gardensubprogramme’. 

Classroom in Nature

These days, the primary school St. Kliment Ohridski from Bitola (in Republic of North Macedonia) completed the “Classroom in nature”. A large number of students from 8th and 9th grade participated in the action and were motivated to create new products by recycling materials and to contribute to improve the conditions in the school. Now the students will be able to realize some of the lessons in nature in the school yard, which will contribute to the development of environmental awareness for a clean environment and to a healthy living in the times of COVID-19. Read more.

The Psychosocial Health of Teachers

Health and education are closely linked. These days, teachers are facing considerable challenges and school as a social space can - and should - promote the psychosocial health of all. Only (psycho-socially) healthy and resilient teachers can have a positive effect on the well-being of students. In the school year 2020/2021, a focus will be placed on strengthening the mental health of teachers in Austria. Read more.

Education for Health in Portugal

In Portugal, a group of teachers from a secondary school situated near the coast, in Gafanha da Nazaré, has developed a project – Education for Health – which aims at creating activities to keep the school community connected and healthy. Despite the distance originated by the recent lockdown provoked by the pandemic COVID-19 crisis, this project gave a weekly input, thus succeeding to keep the school community together.
Every week a message and a challenge were sent to the whole school community to inspire the community to feel as a family, to be present, to convey a message of hope, to provoke laughter and consequently mental and physical well-being. This initiative brought all the elements of the school community closer, making them more “Present@Distance”.
See an example of the challenges.

Mental health and COVID-19

During the corona crisis, the care for the mental health of the students of the elementary school Milojka Štrukelj Nova Gorica in Slovenia, has been carried out in several ways. One of them has been using volunteers from the local community to be in dialogue with the students online. This could be discussing the worries of the children: When will I see my friends? Are they healthy? How many people will die? Also, the volunteers gave online-help to students concerning their homework. Volunteering has been of great importance for both children and adults in the community during this difficult time of COVID-19. Read more.

Move at home!

In Hungary, the national SHE coordinator Annamária Somhegy has worked together during the corona crises with the head of the Hungarian Television to put physical exercises into the program of MTV5 where teachers and children got help to their digital teaching/learning while schools were closed. The „Move at home!” („Mozogj otthon!”) program started at several channels in the television and according to Annamária's recommendation, the „Move at home!” program has been led by physiotherapists with a special attention paid for spine and joint protection. Have a look.

Coping with stress at the COVID-19 pandemic

A nursery school called Saulute (means "The Sun") from Lithuania, city Gargzdai, wish to share its expereince about stress coping in pandemic COVID-19. The nursery school is medium size, there working more than 50 workers, of which 27 are teachers and teachers for children with special needs, and there are 230 children from age 2 to 6. As the quarantine in Lithuania stopped education in nursery schools, Saulute nursery school started remote education and put an effort in still developing the children's health competencies. Have a look at a video that the school posted on YouTube and read about their best practice stories.

Drinking water

In Belgium there are several recommendations and projects for water drinking at school. Read more about this.

Good Practice in Lithuania

The entire community at Klaipėda Smeltė Progymnasium, Lithuania, has been participating for many years in short-term and continuous projects that promote physical and psychological health and provide increased knowledge and skills. The community is united by this range of projects. Get inspired by reading about the many activities at the school and have a look at this video.

Moments of Kindness during the Pandemic

Nursery-school in Marijampolė, Lithuania, has a large number of initiatives to bring pupils, their parents and community together whilst still in quarantine: dancing, singing, appliqueing, drawing, painting, versifying poetry, and outdoors activities.
The pre-school group PELĖDŽIUKAI and their teachers have taken part in initiative ‘Flowers in the windows for medics’, ‘Stay united’ and ‘Raise a flag’. Drawings and paintings from the pupil were exhibited in both national and international exhibitions. Read more.

“FAST Heroes 112” Educational Program

The “FAST Heroes 112” is a holistic school-based educational program which delivers knowledge to children and their extended family to identify the signs of stroke as well as provides guidance on how to respond correctly by calling the emergency number in the event of a stroke. A pilot virtual on-line educational training program in the Greek language is launched because of the corona situation. The online version of the program uses 5 videos, each lasting no more than 15 minutes. The videos will be sent to the families every 3 days. The lesson plan involves a series of various interactive image and sound combinations, such as digital storytelling, questions, colouring, family games, missions, etc. Read more.

Strategic Use of Social Media During the Pandemic

The José Régio Schools in Portalegre, Portugal, has a wide range of activities to maintain the physical, mental and psychological health of students during the pandemic. Dissemination of messages happens through various digital media, flyers, posters, powerpoints, and short videos. The Student and Family Support Office has created an Instagram page, based on the sharing of thematic activities, for the development of playful pedagogical activities that promote the emotional and mental well-being of students, and on the Facebook page of the Grouping Health Fair, Therapists and psychologists streamline the space: “Therapies Corner”. Read more.

The Fight Against Viruses

Pakrazantis Gymnasium of Kelme district in Lithuania is recognized as a health-promoting school. The gymnasium pays a lot of attention towards the development of healthy lifestyle competencies, and the involvement of the entire gymnasium community in the activities. We believe that a health promoting school creates better learning and teaching conditions because healthy students learn better, and a healthy teacher works better. Read more.

The promotion of psychological and mental health

In Portugal, the Carolina Michaelis Associated Schools Group has during the time of the pandemic a specific focus, not only on students' physical health, but also mental and psychological health. The online communication between parents, students and teachers is expanded with new themes like general recommendations on COVID-19, organization of routines, issues related to health and self-care, study support, guidance for parents, online safety, dealing with anxiety and avoiding conflicts. A Psychology/ Guidance Service Team monitors processes through meetings and dialogue. Read about all the initiatives and see a powerpoint presentation on the work at the schools.

Lithuania: Taking care of community health during the quarantine periode at Šiauliai Progymnasium

Šiauliai Progymnasium in Lithuania has a specific focus on taking care of community health during the quarantine periode due to the pandemic. In response to the parents‘ questions, teachers and education support-specialists organized consultations, and recommendations on how to adapt the home environment to the learning process and how to divide work and rest time is given. Teachers, parents and children are sharing experiences, getting aware of the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning. Emotional health of the pupils is in focus, and members of community have been actively provided with consultations by education support-specialist and psychologist. Read more about the activities initiated of the progymnasium. Read more about the activities initiated of the progymnasium.

Lithuania: Experiences from Prienai "Ziburys" gymnasium during the COVID-19

Due to the corona situation in the country and in the world, education at Prienai "Ziburys" gymnasium, as in other Lithuanian schools, was reorganized into distance teaching/learning. School-based health-promoting activities have got a high priority and of particular importance to the adolescents’ physical and emotional health is their social health relationships. Read a case report from the gymnasium, telling about the school health activities during the lockdown. Among other things, the gymnasium has specialists (a psychologist and a social pedagogue) who conduct non-formal education “I Communicate Without Fear” video conversations with groups of I - III gymnasium students. The following educational topics are discussed with students:
House rules and compliance; The importance of the agenda for psychological and physical health; Psychological hygiene; Students' feelings in the quarantine situation; The circle of expression of anger; Self-care - an indisputable necessity; Areas of life and roles played in them; Harmony of life.

Mental health - good practice from North Macedonia

A workshop on "mental health of adolescents" was designed for students of 13 and 15 years from the elementary school "Kuzman Josifovski - Pitu" and the elementary school "Krume Kepeski" from Skopje, held on 4 February 2020 in the elementary school "Kuzman Josifovski - Pitu". The subject of the workshop was mental health.
The purpose of the workshop was to identify the types of behaviors and emotional reactions of boys and girls in school, family, community, using data from the Survey of Health Behavior in School Children. Read the case report.

Poland: Health and Mouth Hygiene

The School Complex in Goleniów and primary school students in Poland has entered the Amazing World of Mouth Hygiene. The program is recommended by the Polish Academy of Dental Prevention and the results are good. See the school case on Mouth Hygiene.

Polen: Heavy school bags - a health problem

'The Light Schoolbag' is a nationwide information and educational campaign in Poland, targeting elementary school students on the prevention of posture defects. In the School Complex in Goleniów, students of the Primary School, Work-Adaptation School and the First-grade Vocational School have had their schoolbags weighted, but most important: The activities draw attention of teachers, children and parents to the issue of heavy backpacks and how to take better care of your body in the future. Read about the school's backpack activities.

Reduction of noise in Polish school

In Danuta Szyksznian Primary School No.14 in Szczecin, teachers and 366 pupils work engaged in reducing noise during school time. The school considers the health of children as a priority of the school’s everyday life. Every day the school has activities connected to reduction of noise levels at school and education about respecting silence. Read about noice reduction activities.

Skin Health Program: Holistic health promotion in Hungarian schools

In Hungary, other health providers can assist teachers working with health promotion. The attached file describes how other actors work with teachers to improve health literacy and health competencies of children particularly in relation to skin and sexual health  Skin Health program

"We are responsible for our health" - examples from Slovenian workshops

Kozje Primary school joined the Slovenian Healthy Schools Network in 2019 in order to respond to the problems related to the health of children and adolescents and to implement health promotion programs in the physical, mental, social and environmental health fields for students, teachers and parents. This school year, the school have had activities aimed at promoting healthy eating, exercise and mental health under the name "We are responsible for our health". The approaches were based on active forms of work, play and a pleasant experience for the pupils. Read about how this was done.

Cooperation between the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living and the Department of Education and Training

In 2016 the Flemish Government set up the objective that by 2025 80% of the Flemish schools works with pillars of the whole school approach. To attain this objective, the Flemish institute for Healthy Living (funded by the ministry of Health) monitors the policy in schools and develops several tools helping schools. The ministry of Education supports this work by several measures, including updating policy frameworks: a new decree on pupil guidance, a new framework for the quality of education and new learning outcomes. Health policy is included in all of these frameworks. A video to promote Healthy schools makes this clear - have a look:

If you want a brief overwiew of the Flemish preventive health landscape, the organisation and more specifically the work in education, have a look at a presentaion by Tineke Van Steenkiste (Flemisch Institute for Healthy Living) and Rita Van Durme (Department of Education and Training in Flanders in Belgium). You'll find out how the Departement of  Education and Training in Flanders is involved in school health promotion, what is the assignment and how is the cooperation organised. The importance of cooperation between government and practise experts is shown. See the presentation.

Camp for Slovenian Health Promoting Schools

Primary School Veržej is one of twelve primary and secondary schools, which established the network of Slovenian Health Promoting Schools in 1993. The founders of Slovenian health promoting schools meet every year to exchange good practice examples and ideas. The camp of 2019 was hosted by the Primary School Veržej. The camp was visited by representatives, coordinators and students of Slovenian Health Promoting Schools as well as founders, leaders of school teams, regional and national coordinators of the network and was very successful.

Read about the camp.

Innovative practice book - Equity, Education and Health: learning from practice, 2014

This innovative practice book includes case studies of practice presented during the 4th European Conference on Health Promoting Schools.

Read more about the innovative practice book

Case study book 3rd European Conference on HPS, 2009

The third European Conference on Health Promoting Schools; ‘Better Schools Through Health', was held in Vilnius, Lithuania in June 2009. Presented at the conference were a range of case studies of practice or ‘stories' of school-based health promotion work.

Read more about the Case study book 3rd European Conference on HPS, 2009

From chaos to learning - a Danish case study, 2013

This is a success story about an ordinary Danish public primary and lower secondary school with huge social and learning problems. Taking a number of health parameters as its point of departure an initiative, in which cross-disciplinary collaboration was combined with a systemic approach in order to achieve the dual goals of well-being in school and learning, resulted in a completely new school structure.

Read the full case study - chaos to learning

A Slovenian case study: our school – hand in hand with local community

In cooperation with local, regional and national institutions, we planned topics and evaluated the results of common work. Bearing in mind the amount of time pupils spend in school, it is important to plan and direct the choice of activities which help develop pupils ́ basic values about food, sporting activities and relationship towards people and nature. In the process this project has become part of the school curriculum based on twelve goals formed by the previous European Network of Health Promoting Schools.

Case study focusing on school/student's mental health and skill building

Parental involvement - a Slovenian case study, 2012

Good cooperation between home and school is an important indicator of educational work. Qualitative partnership is based on trust, respect and mutual help. Good cooperation between parents and school is a contribution of today's democratic, student-friendly school, which enables a dialog of cooperation. Therefore, school and home in a partnership are equally responsible for a child's development and progress. In this article cooperation with parents in a Slovenian class is presented.

Read the full case study on parental participation