Glasgow Caledonian academics teach children about the science of physiotherapy

A ‘meet the experts’ event at Glasgow Science Centre introduced children as young as six to how physiotherapists use science and evidence.


David Heggarty, Elspeth Donaldson, Janet Bonn and Larissa Kempenaar

In a break from teaching at Glasgow Caledonian University, on 23 June four physio lecturers headed to the popular city-centre attraction for a session with the youngsters.

One of the four, Elspeth Donaldson, said: ‘There were school parties of children aged six up to 16.

‘But also families because it was the day of the EU referendum and lots of schools were closed.

‘We started with a “bendy lab”, looking at flexibility. And we got the children to measure their own flexibility, with some very mixed results.’

Dr Donaldson found the results surprising. But she and colleagues Larissa Kempenaar, Janet Bonn and David Heggarty got the youngsters into groups to performed stretches, wall slides and other physical activities.

Fortunately, a re-test after the group work produced better results.

‘We were teaching them how muscles move and work, and that it’s worth doing a warm up and stretches before you do any sports,’ she said.

The physio lecturers would like to repeat the event, and are hoping Glasgow Caledonian students will work with the centre in future.

‘Also, the university is going to do a family day next year and we have been invited to go along,’ said Dr Donaldson.


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