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Community Hike in Vilnius: Half a Million Steps Together and Chests Filled with Memories

On June 13th, to celebrate the end of the school year, we embarked on a hike through the Pavilniai Regional Park. This community event, involving students from grades 0–10, both national and international classes, teachers, administrative staff, and a few parents, not only helped develop and strengthen social skills but also significantly contributed to improving physical literacy – collectively, we walked a total of 507,454 steps!

School Traditions Enhance Physical Literacy
At Erudito Licėjus, we place great emphasis on the development of physical literacy. It has been proven that academic progress is significantly higher when children are actively moving. Active movement leads to social, emotional, and cognitive development. Sports and active movement can earn the most “joy points.” In the spring, primary school teacher and primary education program coordinator Jurgita Steponaitienė gave a presentation on this topic at the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, sharing her experiences at Erudito Lyceum. Common active school traditions also help foster an understanding of physical activity and strengthen physical literacy – we organize sports festivals and joint active activities annually, and we participate in the “Schools Go” challenge. This year, primary and middle school students embarked on a joint hike in Belmontas.

Physical education lessons, active activities during classes, and contextual activities develop physical literacy – the ability to be active in any conditions. Sports and movement are not just about achieving results. In modern education, the focus is no longer on results, but on teamwork: not just faster, higher, but together, achieving results as a team.

The inspiring role of the teacher is especially important. And although some teachers chose to wear shirts with the slogan “I can’t do it,” they demonstrated an incredible example of being able to – primary school students easily completed the “big kids” trails and successfully finished the nearly 5 km distance.

A teacher is a physically literate member of society who provides positive reinforcement, which is especially important in the primary grades. Teachers’ feedback and experiences show that even from the preschool class, students are able to make health-promoting decisions – this is also their merit. Encoded to move, the primary students, even after the hike, did not laze around on the grass but grabbed a ball, played team games, picked berries (wild strawberries are a great source of iron), and were in no hurry to go home.

Why Go Simple When You Can Have Challenges
At this age, exploring the world aligns perfectly with physical literacy, which is why many contextual lessons at Erudito Lyceum take place in nature, outdoors. Through physical literacy, it is possible to teach not only physical education, mathematics, and world studies, but also the Lithuanian language.
“We live in a wonderful world full of beauty, charm, and adventure. The adventures we can have are endless if we seek them with wide-open eyes,” says J. Steponaitienė. And when we think broadly – we experience more! One team of second graders named themselves “The Invincible Kids” and consciously chose a longer route. “The hike didn’t feel long – we traveled with songs, climbed over trees,” recounts primary school teacher Glorija Kliokytė. “The team name was perfectly reflected, and it was a wonderful day spent in nature,” she concludes.
“We didn’t just walk; we climbed, jumped, and scrambled over trees – we chose extraordinary paths because why go simple when you can have challenges,” shares primary school teacher Giedrė Gürsoy. Challenges are very appealing to older students: they (along with the teachers) decided to shorten some sections by crossing a river.

Teacher Erika Daukšienė was pleased with her fifth graders’ quick orientation (we hiked using maps), quick decisions, and logical thinking. “I admire the children’s enthusiasm and responsibility,” says Erika, confidently rating this “lesson” 10/10.

All teams completed the route, for which they were rewarded with ice cream, and then… Then there was a picnic, where we shared experiences (and snacks) and, in the words of teacher Erika Daukšienė, filled our chests with memories.