Schoolchildren in Physical Culture and Sports Life of Soviet Ukraine
The schoolchildren of the second half of the 20th century in the Ukrainian SSR were considered not only as the ‘builders of the communist system’ but also as active participants in social transformations. Physical culture and sports activities of schoolchildren had become one of the tools for achieving both goals. The practical significance of the study is to address the issue of organizing children’s time at school and the development of their abilities.
The legal framework, which laid the background of school activity in this sphere, is studied in the paper. It continued the experience of Soviet traditions laid down in the previous period and was aimed not only at the development of physical abilities but rather at qualities that would be useful during possible military conflicts or wars. As the USSR constantly opposed itself to the Western powers and the United States, the corresponding slogans came in handy. Endurance, firmness, toughness, passing the tests of Ready for Labour and Defense, the development of mass physical culture and sports movements, promoting public health care became indicative.
Starting from school, the children were involved in such activities. Initially, the schoolchildren in educational institutions participated in quizzes, relay races, games, attended hobby and sports groups. In the postwar period, their role was insignificant. After the restoration of the school network, the indices increased. Authorities focused on staffing and material and technical support, which became the key to the successful education and development of children. New records in swimming, shooting, gymnastics, and other sports had been set since the 1950s. It is indicative that the schoolchildren of Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Stalin (later Donetsk), Kharkiv Regions won leading places, which could be explained by the cultural and sports tradition, the existence of necessary specialists, material and technical base.
Physical education and physical culture at school existed in the institution not only as a subject but also covered the entire educational process and everyday life of children and adults. The schoolchildren not only demonstrated their own achievements but also fought for the role of a leader in the USSR. The state, in turn, against the background of its own experiments, tried to show the care and support of children. It was necessary to address the issue of children’s leisure, physical training, and prestige of the country not only ‘among friendly countries’ but also in the international arena, so this activity had become indicative.
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