The Institute for Lifelong Learning Foundation (IL3-UB) of the University of Barcelona leads the launch of All@Once, an EU-backed project which will train preschool teachers on how to instill healthy habits in children and improve their quality of life
This innovative education and health project is funded by EIT Health, and counts with academic partners from four countries as well as the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, the Consorci D’Educació and the Agéncia de Salut Pública de Barcelona.
The first phase of the All@Once project kicked off in January in Barcelona with a series of co-creation workshops held at IL3-UB. This innovative European project, funded by EIT Health, part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) of the European Union, develops training materials aimed at preschool teachers to instill healthy habits in children from ages 3 to 6 years old. Led by IL3-UB, All@Once is designed with a co-creation approach that takes into account the real needs of families, teachers and healthcare professionals. Thus, the goal of this year-long project is to create an impact on children’s habits and prevent long-term hospitalization and chronic diseases in the community.
Four academic institutions participate in All@Once: the University of Maastricht, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Grenoble Alpes, and the University of Barcelona. The Consorci d’Educació (department of education) of Barcelona, the city’s healthcare department (Agéncia de Salut Pública) and the Sant Joan de Déu Children’s Hospital are also partners. All these institutions have joined this European project that has a global vision of healthcare, including emotional health, social health, diversity (cultural, religious, gender, etc) and physical and mental health. Healthy habits in the infant stage also include food and hygiene as well as the fight against sedentary lifestyle and the promotion of sports.
All@Once is an innovative and pioneering project in its field: it directly involves and gives voice to teachers, parents, and healthcare personnel in the design of the project.
In mid-January, academic and professional staff of All@Once partners participated in co-creation sessions with teachers, families and healthcare professionals to identify the real needs of these three groups. The project’s multidisciplinary approach also includes biochemists, behavioural psychologists, sociologists, biologists, and innovation and development experts for a practical assessment of these needs.
«I think All@Once is really a very good program,» said Dr. Onno Van Schayck, Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Maastricht and participant in the co-creation sessions. «What is trying to be done at the moment is to investigate what is needed from the perspective of teachers, from the perspective of medical doctors and healthcare professionals, as well as from parents, in including health aspects in teaching with very young children. To include these kinds of health aspects in their development and education is really crucial.»
«The immediate results of the project will obviously be a change in children’s habits, but in the long term, the impact will be to have empowered, strong and healthy citizens,» said Marsia Ellina, project manager of the IL3-UB international projects unit.
At the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year, a pilot of All@Once will be implemented in five schools in Barcelona engaging more than 300 preschool children. In the last quarter of this calendar year, the effectiveness of the pilot will be evaluated to assess the results and make corresponding adjustments. The prestigious EIT Health network has granted one year funding for All@Once throughout 2019, with the possibility of being extended and especially, with the hopes that the project will be replicable in other countries.