Prof. Dr. Willi Schröder, Emeritus professor for theory and history of the sports science at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena Jena, 9th March 2008

Report for the reintroduction of the multipurpose gymnastic apparatus "Greifswald"

It's time to react to the stronger becoming criticism of insightful politicians, physicians and educationists about the bad health situation of the young generation. It was often indicated that physical lacks are mainly the results of wrong food and too little movement. One out of two Germans is over weight and many people suffer from kinetic disturbances. This development has consequences for adults too, like diabetes and increasing heart- and circulation diseases. It's often discussed what can be done about those problems but often it's not been dared to mention the insufficient quantity and quality of physical education taught in school, as well as the disappointing qualification of gym teachers. In an official comment by the department of family and youth from 19/2/2007 it is stated programmatically, that children and young people have a right to a healthy childhood.

Because of this any initiative, concerning the physical training of youngsters is welcome. The advice from Mrs. Dr. Eleonore Salomon to reintroduce the use of a successful proved multipurpose gymnastic apparatus, which was developed in times of the GDR, is to be appreciated. Many comments by kindergarten caring staff show the meaningful use of the apparatus that belonged to the basic equipment of the preschool facilities since the seventies and was exported many times. The combination of easy to handle and portable parts like balance beams, high bars, uneven bars and ladders led the children to balancing, sliding, brachiating and climbing so that muscles could be strengthened and in a joyful game the motivation could be stimulated - not just as a condition to a later constant engaging of sport activities but even for overcoming the requests at school and in job. Those who enjoy sport during their free time don’t take the bait of computer games and other exposes of confining to their seats. It was no other than Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths, the forerunner of the German physical culture, who warned of one-sided mental stress, that was over two hundred years ago. He had realised the poor physical potential of children and teenagers and encouraged the necessary balance to the mental stress with multifarious daily physical exercises in his epochal work “gymnastic for the youth”, published in 1793.

The suggestion by Eleonore Salomon to a new production of the multipurpose gym apparatus, virtually justified from me concerning the history of sport, is to be welcomed and deserves to be put into reality as soon as possible. The Greifswald gym apparatus creates general conditions for early childhood, joyful physical exercises, exercises the motor activity and can be used in many ways in day care centres.