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The importance of physical activity in early childhood education

It sounds obvious, and as adults we know how important exercise is to our physical and mental health, but it’s worth a moment to really understand why exactly physical activity is so critical to the development of our children, and why it is important to prioritise it in your childcare centre.

We know physical activity is essential for children's fitness and well-being. Unfortunately, however, many children do not meet the WHO recommendation for physical activity requirements, which puts them at risk for a range of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

It is also proven to foster the development of gross motor skills, improving coordination, balance, and flexibility, and has been linked to numerous positive outcomes for children's cognitive and social development, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, improved self-esteem and confidence, and better academic performance.

But why is physical activity so important in early childhood education? The answer lies in the critical role that early years experiences play in shaping a child's lifelong health and well-being. By encouraging fun activities that promote physical activity in your childcare centre, you are helping to lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits and positive development.

It's important to remember that physical activity should be enjoyable and age-appropriate, especially in early childhood. Young children may not have the endurance or coordination for more rigorous activities, so we need to focus on providing a variety of options that allow them to explore and move their bodies in ways that feel comfortable and fun.

A key way to promote physical activity in your childcare centre is to involve parents and caregivers. Encourage them to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines with their children, like taking a walk together after dinner or playing catch in the backyard. By working together, you can create a culture of physical activity that extends beyond the walls of your childcare centre.

Sports programs are also undoubtedly an excellent way to promote physical activity and achieve these physical goals. Sports programs provide a structured and organized way for children to engage in physical activity, often in a team or group setting.

Sports programs also provide a range of benefits beyond physical activity. By participating in sports, children have the opportunity to develop important skills like teamwork, communication, and leadership. They can also learn about sportsmanship, fair play, and the value of hard work and dedication.

In addition, sports programs can be a great way to promote inclusivity and diversity. Many sports programs are designed to be inclusive and accessible to children of all abilities and backgrounds. By providing opportunities for children to participate in sports, regardless of their skill level or background, you are promoting a sense of belonging and community that can have lasting benefits for children's social and emotional development.

So, let's work together to ensure that every child has the opportunity to develop their gross motor skills and lead a healthy, active, and fulfilling life. By incorporating a range of age-appropriate and enjoyable physical activities into your centre’s program and involving parents and caregivers, you can help to set children on a path towards a lifetime of health and well-being.

If you are looking at introducing sports activities at your early learning of childcare centre, you can check out our activity programs here. We deliver sports programs structured around the Early Years Learning Framework to childcare centres right across Australia and have been doing so for more than a decade!


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