The Project “Olympic Stories“



Olympic stories? Why?

Can you imagine the world without bedtime stories? How would people act had they not listened in their childhood to stories from grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers? What would dreams look like if children, as stories end, did not slowly close their eyes and, tucked in, clamly went to sleep in their beds?

A good story, if it is supplemented by the soft hand that caresses the child’s head slowly following its rhythm, is the infallible method to put little listeners to sleep. And the story can speak of anything: about the forever boy Peter Pan, the good girl Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother and the dangerous wolf, mama goat and the seven recalcitrant calves, the gorgeous Snow White and dwarves, the wooden Pinnochio, the tiny Bambi...

In these stories, good always triumphs, happiness overcomes. Even the wolf or the witch in them are not that dangerous and wicked. Grown ups gladly return to the goodnight stories of their childhood. They thus do not only recall to memory the characters from the stories, but also the voice of the narrator, the image of the dim light of the small lamp, the scent of fresh linen, the feeling of easy slipping into the world of dreams...


Using the medium acceptable to children, picture books and storytelling on famous athletes through the series “Olympic Stories,” the basic goal is the development of the interest in pupils of younger ages to do sports, simultaneously promoting the fundamental human and social values: kindness, non-violence, tolerance, perseverance, dilligence and friendship regardless of religion, race or gender – in the Olympic spirit.

Support

In 2013, the project won the support of the International Olympic Committee within the Olympic Solidarity and the programme of Support for Olympic Values – “Olympic Education, Culture and Legacy“ as well as the Croatian Olympic Committee, while in 2014/15 it was, supported by the Ministry of Health, implemented in primary schools in the area of the Town of Zagreb and the County of Primorsko-goranska.

Aware of how much the stories they went to sleep with impacted them, they want to prolong the magic, so they transfer them to their children and grandchildren. Adults know that bedtime stories do not merely form pleasant dreams but also what we call past – which in turn shapes us.

We would like to tell you stories a bit different, unusual. Stories of people that, doing sports, experienced – or still experience – beauty and happiness. These are stories of athletes, real, true sports stories. You will learn everything of the tiny Jigoro Kano who wanted to be big and strong so he started with judo, about the deft skater Sonia Henie who was, on account of incredible ice jumps, dubbed Miss Hoppla, about the gymnast Leon Štukelj who, thanks to regular exercise, lived to be a hundred, about the fantastic pole vaulter Sergei Bubka, about the Snow Queen, the invincible Janica Kostelić, and a host of other famous athletes and winners of medals, Olympic winners.

All these greats, winners of the shiniest world medals, started doing sports when they were kids. We shall reveal to you their path to success, and all the great things they experienced doing sport.

We trust these stories will do their task and finally get the little listerners to sleep, who, in their dreams, will do judo, skate, pole vault, do gymnastics etc. And one day, turn part of their dreams into reality by becoming athletes.

About project “Olympic Stories“

Sport is a right and a need of contemporary man, a factor of health and a means for education and upbringing. The association Movement – Active and Healthy (Pokret - aktivan i zdrav), supported by the Ministry of Health, promotes physical activity i.e. exercise through the dimension of sport, aiming at health.

Sport has a social value in the education and development of children and youth, fostering the habit of a healthy lifestyle. This is exactly why, with the project ”Olympic Stories,“ we turn to primary school pupils in grades 1 through 4, the ages when children get included into sports and when they learn and acquire most. The messages they adopt then are the basis of their further development.

In order to bring home and for them to understand all we would like to impart, we use the medium they understand best and gladly accept, and these are bedtime stories.


The Ministry of Science, Education and Sport and the Agency for Education gave an exceptionally favourable expert findings and the recommendation to use the picture books in schools or during free time with teachers and parents.

Where the project was implemented?

The Project “Olympic Stories“ – was implemented in primary schools in the area of the Town of Zagreb and the County of Primorsko-goranska.

We decided to tell these stories – ”Olympic Stories” – eight picture books on world renowned athletes, Olympians. These are actual, real, warm stories on growing up of famous athletes, their childhood, doing sport and appearances at Olympic Games.

One should especially single out the story of ancient Olympic Games, entitled “the Games of gods,” that will bring nearer to children the history of the Olympic Games, the values and principles of the Olympic movement, creating at the earliest age the contact that will last a lifetime.

The Ministry of Science, Education and Sport and the Agency for Education gave an exceptionally favourable expert findings and the recommendation to use the picture books in schools or during free time with teachers and parents.



Description of the picture books “Olympic Stories:“

Authors: Milka Babović i Vitomir Spasović; Illustrator: Matija Dražović

“Olympic Stories” are composed of eight true to life sport tales of people who, doing sports, experience, or still experience, beauty and happiness. In these stories, pupils will learn everything of the tiny Jigoro Kano who wanted to be big and strong so he started with judo, about the deft skater Sonia Henie who was, on account of incredible ice jumps, dubbed Miss Hoppla, about the gymnast Leon Štukelj who, thanks to regular exercise, lived to be a hundred, about the fantastic pole vaulter Sergei Bubka, about the Snow Queen, the invincible Janica Kostelić, and a host of other famous athletes and winners of medals, Olympic winners.

The project “Olympic Stories” was implemented in 200 primary schools in the area of the Town of Zagreb and the County of Primorsko-goranska, from October 2014 to June 2015. All schools received a set of the picture books “Olympic Stories,” while the storytelling programme was implemented as well in 38 schools.

The association Pokret - aktivan i zdrav and the Croatian Olympic Committee (participant) organised the “Meet Ups – Guest Appearances“ with authors of the picture books Milka Babović and Vitomir Spasović, the actor Damir Poljičak and famous athletes within the regular programme for primary schools. The actor Damir Poljičak told pupils the story of the famous Japanese judo contestant Jigoro Kano entitled the “Gentle Way.” During the implementation of the programme, the projection panel showed slides from the picture book, which was accompanied by actor’s voice, while other picture books were presented too.


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Guests - athletes Olympians, para-Olympians, winners of world and European medals (Josip Pavić, Martina Zubčić, Darko Kralj, Želko Mavrović, Tena Šikić, Dubravko Šimenc, Ana Konjuh, Enrico Marotti, Maja Blagojević, Mario Možnik) spoke of their sport beginnings, friendship, hanging out and the importance of sport in general.

The meet up was led by expert moderators, the psychologist Mateja Aleksić and the physical education teacher Dean Bogić. Following the implementation of the programme, the picture books remained available for pupils’ inspection in their school libraries, for everyday reading.



Evaluation of the project “Olympic Stories“

38 schools and 3,010 pupils were encompassed. We received the evaluation questionnaires from 22 schools, filled in by 1,822 pupils. Second and third grades mostly were included, with some first grade pupils and exceptionally a few fourth grade ones.

The following primary schools implemented the storytelling programme:

Zagreb: OŠ Granešina, OŠ Augusta Cesarca, OŠ Marina Držića, OŠ Čučerje, OŠ Matije Gupca, OŠ Jabukovac, OŠ Ive Andrića, OŠ Mladost, OŠ Cvjetno naselje, OŠ Dugave, OŠ Miroslava Krleže, OŠ Otok, OŠ Vugrovec Kašina Prekvršje, OŠ Nikole Tesle, OŠ Malešnica, OŠ Žitnjak, OŠ Ivana Gundulića, OŠ Ivana Meštrovića, OŠ Vjenceslava Novaka, OŠ Gustava Krkleca, OŠ Vukomerec.

Primorsko-goranska županija: OŠ Čavle Rijeka, OŠ I. G. Kovačića Delnice, OŠ Nikole Tesle Rijeka, OŠ Rikarda Katalinića Jeretova Opatija, OŠ Srdoč Rijeka, OŠ Zamet Rijeka, OŠ Kozale Rijeka, Centar za odgoj i obrazovanje Rijeka, OŠ Kraljevica, OŠ F. K. Frankopana Krk, OŠ Ivana Jemeršića, OŠ Pehlin Rijeka, OŠ Pećine Rijeka, OŠ Frana Frankovića Rijeka, OŠ Ivana Zajca Rijeka, OŠ Brajda Rijeka, OŠ Trsat Rijeka

Conclusion

The concept of the presentation and the very picture books are quite liked by the children, and they are motivated to get involved in sports and to foster the virtues such as perseverance, strength, courage and striving for success, but also to start reading and open to other cultures. We should single out the project on mass scale increases the motivation of children to do sports.

The teachers like the concept of the presentation – the combination of actors and storytelling, good and relaxed atmosphere, humour, dynamics, creativity, immediacy and interaction with children, and the idea of promoting sports and the virtues that sport develops. Negative feedback refers to technical difficulties and some inconsistencies in the performance. It would be good to ensure a constant level of the quality of presentation, in terms of staff and act. Teachers confirm the picture books are great in terms of upbringing and education: they motivate children to do sports, teach virtue, open them to new cultures and contribute to the prevention of risk behaviour. They represent a new thing on the market and are of quality value.


A WORD FROM PUPILS

Did you like the story?
They like the stories very much.

3%

Not

20%

So-so

75%

Very


Would you like to read other “Olympic Stories?”
Most developed the interest for other stories; one could say the presentation was very motivating for the acquisition of the habit of reading.

83%

Yes

15%

No


Would you like to do sports?
The picture books are exceptionally motivating for children to do sports.

88%

Yes

10%

No


A WORD FROM TEACHERS

I grade the picture books with?
This is a very high average grade of 4.6

1%

Satisfactory

5%

Good

28%

Very good

64%

Excellent


I grade the presentation of the “Olympic Stories” with
A very high average of 4.2

2%

Satisfactory

16%

Good

36%

Very good

44%

Excellent


How motivating are the “Olympic Stories” in getting children to do sports?
The teachers confirmed the picture books motivate children to do sports – which is the main goal.

2%

Not

23%

So-so

49%

Very

24%

Exceptionally


Project supported by the Ministry of Health 2014/2015. The picture books “Olympic Stories,” supported by the International Olympic Committe - Olympic Solidarity, within the programme “Promotion of Olympic Values - “Sport for All” and the Croatian Olympic Committe in 2013.

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