Hi, I am a pediatric physical therapist in MA and a dpt student. I work in a school district that is invested in health promotion. We would like to add some body mechanics and ergonomic education for elementary age students to the current curriculum. I would appreciate any information regarding existing curriculums. We have a unit on back pack safety but have not yet added any other formal training. The teachers are highly motivated when there is a simple unit for education and suggested grade level activities to reinforce the information provided. These activities are enthusiasticly received when they address other curriculum needs such as mathematics. It makes sense to provide knowledge and develop healthy habits early but I would like to make sure that there is evidence to back up any training we provide. I am just beginning to research this topic and learning how to use the ergoweb forum. If I have missed a previous discussion please advise. Thank you for your assistance. Anne
Just a reminder that our software program Stretch Break for Kids is available for free for any school (K-12) child and to any K-12 school. It can be downloaded at:
Stretch Break is an existing Windows-based program that is currently being used by many companies to help adults avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs). In collaboration with Karen Jacobs of Boston University I have developed a children’s version of Stretch Break. It helps prevent injuries by reminding children to take periodic breaks while using their computer. Full-motion animated figures of children show low-impact stretches. Also included are ErgoHints, an on-line summary of ergonomic concepts, and ErgoReminders a series of graphic messages that appear at the end of each break to reinforce healthy computing habits.
We have already had over 3600 persons and schools download this free kids version. Available for Windows or Mac.
Arthur Saltzman, Ph.D. Voice: 714-546-8619
President Fax: 714-546-4607
Para Technologies E-mail: [email protected]
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I am also committed to education for back health as early as possible. This education should be provided in our public education system. I have many ideas that we have done in our school district. Three years ago I designed a healthy school bag to replace backpacks. It is designed to train healthy postural habits and awareness of good body mechanics. It is called backTpack (www.backTpack.com). Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth of the DPT Program at Northeastern U. has the bag and is familiar with it. I also have done much with school chairs, and coordination with PE in posture education and proper abdominal exercise, stretching etc. In our high school we are now including back education in our federally mandated wellness efforts. Call and we can discuss.
Marilyn von Foerster PT, 1-503-365-7554
Dear Marilyn, Thank you for your response. I will be in touch with you soon. I am interested in reviewing what is being done in other schools so I can learn from the success of others. I am also gathering evidence in literature to support and prioritize the addition of postural education, body mechanics, and/or other aspects of ergonomics into our health curriculum. My district is very interested and actively engaged in health promotion. The nurses and physical education teachers are most involved in these programs. Each school does it a bit differently. My district uses the Massachusetts Department of Education Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework. October, 1999. Available at http://www.doemass.org/frameworks/health/1999/1099.pdf. Thanks again, Anne
I look forward to speaking with you. I will print out the Mass. DEOFramework. Oregon is working on one and we need a good addition to the posture and back education area.
In Canada, both Ontario and Alberta have introduced ergonomics curriculum materials into high school programs – but not elementary as far as I know. The materials were used in a number of Alberta high schools in 2006, and feedback should be complete. I believe some of the Ontario curriculum is available online.
The site we used in Alberta as our main ‘reference’ was ergonomics4schools.co.uk – sponsored and written by ergonomists from the UK. I think the material on the site would be suitable for older elementary students. The site is good as it looks at a number of topics – not just the usual physical, posture and backpacks. But as my background is as an ergonomist working across a broad scope of the ergonomics discipline, some of the information may not be what you want.
If the link works it is at: http://www.ergonomics4schools.co.uk/learningzone.htm
Hi Ms. Trudy Tilbury, In my many years of practice as a physical therapist I have always had an interest in ergonomics. I now hope to invest some time where I think it will count. I hope to teach elementary school students a little bit about ergonomics before bad habits are formed. At this time I am in the learning process. The link works and I will spend some time exploring this site. Thank you so much for the infromation. Sincerely, Anne Kring
Just as a follow-up to this topic;
Every year, I volunteer at my kid’s elementary school (k-6) as part of a Health Fair. The kids come with their teacher and class to the gym where there are about 10 stations on different health topics. This year, there were sections on cardiac health, lung health, literacy, fire safety, animal health, emergency services, mental health. My booth is on ergonomics. This year, I kept it very simple and talked about posture. I had a model of a spine and we talked about standing posture. Then, we did a few stretches and posture excercises. I had about 5 to 10 minutes with each class. For Grade 6 only, I hooked up one student to a biofeedback device to show trap. muscle activity when mousing. In our state, all Grade 7 students get a laptop computer. My demo showed a lot of shoulder activity when the mouse is used with a long reach, and a high reach.
In previous years, I did the biofeedback monitor for all classes, but I don’t think the younger grades got much out of it.
I notice the younger kids love the stretches but starting in about grade 4 (age 10) they get a little self-conscious and have to be prodded into participating.
As a pediatric Physical Therapist, do you have any suggestions that I can offer to our own Pediatric Physical Therapist who is having problems with knees and back from working on the floor so much and getting up and down so frequently with the children? I would welcome any suggestions you may have,
The Puget Sound Chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is in the process of developing an ergonomics for schools program called Technically Cool Computing. I am leading the pilot program with help from PSHFES members. Our goal is to develop a curriculum that will provide computer ergonomics information to schools, as well as