Achper

Project Partners

LEAPS is funded by the Queensland Government and is delivered in Queensland via a partnership between QUT, NAQ & ACHPER QLD.

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FAQ's


What is Active Play?


Active play is any form of regular physical activity that babies and children participate in, which can be planned or spontaneous. It includes light, moderate and vigorous activity and is typically seen in short intense bursts of activity. Active play within the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) setting can occur both indoors and outdoors and can be completed, individually or along with other children in the ECEC setting and/or with educators. Active play may be structured such as organised games) or unstructured such as spontaneous play like dancing to music).

The National Physical Activity Recommendations for children (2013) state that 1-5 year olds should be physically active everyday for at least three hours, spread throughout the day; and that babies up to 1 year should be as active as possible immediately from birth, in a safe and supervised environment. These recommendations ought to be easily met within the ECEC setting, as educators organise specific times throughout the day for active play.

Reference:

Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#rec_0_5

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Why is physical activity important?


Physical activity is very important. All children benefit from physical activity as it provides a range of physical, social, cognitive and emotional benefits. Regular engagement in physical activity provides:

  • An environment where children can build and develop social skills like turn taking, patience, cooperation, and teamwork
  • The opportunity to build basic physical fitness dimensions including muscle strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance, coordination, and agility
  • Increased self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of self-competence
  • Improved body composition (the ratio of fat to muscle in a child’s body)
  • An increased sense of belonging and acceptance in a group
  • Decreased risk of health complications such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in later life
  • Improvement in behaviour, attention span and brain development
  • An outlet for excess energy
  • A mechanism to assist children to cope with stress and anxiety
  • An improved quality of sleep
  • An opportunity to interact with others and make new friends
  • A source of enjoyable, healthy entertainment, children have fun when they are active!

The importance of physical activity is recognised throughout the National Quality Standard and the Early Years Learning Framework. This FAQ links to NQS Quality Area 2 and EYLF Learning Outcome 1, 3 and 4. For explicit links, refer to the Benefits of Physical Activity fact sheet. You can also see examples of evidence of EYLF learning outcomes related to physical activity and active play in the Evidence of Early Years Learning Framework learning outcomes fact sheet.

References:

Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#rec_0_5

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (2013). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Retrieved from: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/the-national-quality-standard

Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.education.gov.au/early-years-learning-framework

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What are Get Up and Grow Physical Activity Guidelines?


The National Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years  ‘Get Up and Grow Physical Activity Guidelines’ suggest the following guidelines for physical activity for young children:

Infants (birth to 1 year):

For healthy development in infants, physical activity – particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.

  • Before infants begin to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time
  • Once infants are mobile, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment

Toddlers (1 – 3 years) & Pre-Schoolers (3 – 5 years):

Toddlers and pre-schoolers should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.

  • Young children don’t need to do their three hours of physical activity all at once. It can be accumulated throughout the day and can include light activity like standing up, moving around and playing as well as more vigorous activity like running and jumping
  • Active play is the best way for young children to be physically active

The ‘Get Up and Grow Physical Activity Guidelines’ suggest the following guidelines for screen time for young children:

Children younger than 2 yrs of age:

Children under the age of 2 years should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).

Children 2 -5 years of age:

Sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.

  • Television, DVDs and playing computer games usually involve sitting for long periods – time which could be spent playing active games or interacting with others
  • Regardless of how active kids may be at other times it is still important to limit screen time

Refer to the Screen Time fact sheet for more information.

It is important to understand that infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should not be sedentary, restrained, or kept inactive, for more than one hour at a time, with the exception of sleeping.

  • All children need some ‘down time’ but they are not naturally inactive for long periods of time. Sitting in strollers, highchairs and car seats (being restrained) for long periods isn’t good for children’s health and development
  • Try to take regular breaks on long car trips and walk or pedal for short trips when you can

Reference:

Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#rec_0_5

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What is structured and unstructured play?


Structured play refers to those activities that are ‘planned’, whereby they have a set of rules and specific objectives of the activity. An example of structured play may be a child playing an organised game of soccer. Unstructured play refers to ‘free’ play activities, whereby children may be in the process of establishing their own rules and objectives. An example of unstructured play may be a child running around in the playground.

For children under five years, active play is the best form of physical activity. Active play includes unstructured and structured play (both indoors and particularly outdoors), active transport (such as walking to a destination, rather than driving) and certain everyday tasks (such as cleaning the room or helping with gardening). Children’s activity patterns are very ‘stop–start’ in nature, therefore physical activity within the setting should be spread throughout the day. Early childhood settings should also consider how often children are sedentary or inactive, and quiet times.

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What are fundamental movements skills?


Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) are skills that are considered to be the ‘building blocks’ for specialised skills and form the basis for movements used in all types of physical activity. FMS need to be demonstrated, practised and incorporated into everyday activities such as moving from one activity to another by skipping or marching.

FMS can be categorised into a number of different skills, including:

1.Locomotor skills (crawling, walking, running, jumping, marching, galloping and later on, hopping)

2.Stability skills (these movements focus on the body remaining in place but moving such as stretching, bending, swaying, twisting and balancing)

3.Manipulative skills (throwing, kicking, striking with a bat or soft variation of a bat)

4.Strength (upper body and lower body)

5.Agility (ability to change direction quickly)

6.Cognitive motor functions (movement patterning and crossing the midline)

It is important to ensure that children are provided with many opportunities to practice FMS as part of their daily routines. There are many activities and games which require FMS such as moving around an area using different skills and freezing on command, moving like animals, relay games, moving to music and chasing games. Many games and activities require little or no equipment.  If you have access to an outdoor playground you can encourage children to practice FMS by moving between stations and climbing on, over and through equipment.

See the Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotor, Non-Locomotor (Stability) and Manipulative fact sheets for more information. For ideas for practising FMS in small spaces, see the Ideas for practicing Fundamental Movement Skills in Small Spaces fact sheets.

This FAQ links to NQS Quality Area 2 and EYLF Learning Outcome 3. For explicit links, refer to the Fundamental Movement Skills fact sheets. You can also see examples of evidence of EYLF learning outcomes related to physical activity and active play in the Evidence of Early Years Learning Framework learning outcomes fact sheet.


References:

Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing, Queensland Government (2012).  Let’s Get Moving. Retrieved from http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/community-programs/school-community/childhood-programs/preschooler.html

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (2013). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Retrieved from: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/the-national-quality-standard

Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.education.gov.au/early-years-learning-framework

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How can I make my program more culturally inclusive?


One of the rights identified by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the right to play. Participating in play and physical activity are universal even though communities are diverse. Children come from different backgrounds with different experiences and interests. Engaging with parents, grandparents and caregivers and learning about their culture, religion, songs, stories and dances will enrich children’s physical activity experiences. Children who participate in culturally diverse games and activities are able to learn to respect diversity and difference.

Some ideas that can promote cultural inclusion may include:

  • Find out if there are clothing requirements or body modesty issues that may affect participation and modify your games or activities so that it is safe for children to participate no matter what clothes they are wearing.
  • Talk to parents about what play and being active means in their country and culture.
  • Invite parents, grandparents, caregivers or community representatives to share some games and physical activities.
  • Talk to Elders from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about activities specific to their community.
  • Hear stories from different cultures and relate these to physical activity.
  • Get to know local community groups and/or Indigenous workers in community or charitable organisations, to invite them to share ideas and strategies to assist with promotion of cultural inclusion.
  • Have children make toys and game equipment that are used in the activities of different cultures.
  • Learn different dances- traditional and modern. Ask parents to bring in a variety of music, instruments or play items.
  • Be aware of physical activities that occur at different special times of the year such as Easter Egg Hunts.  Make sure that children who do not celebrate Easter still have the opportunity to run around and hunt for other little treasures.
  • Find a local interpreter service if you need it.  
  • Search out people in your local area who can provide Cultural Competency Training for your staff.
  • Attend cultural festivals in your local area.
  • Be flexible with times when dealing with communities as sometimes important community issues or funerals will mean that they cannot make the time you have scheduled.
  • Look up the resource Yulunga, a selection of some Traditional Indigenous Games produced by Ausport.

This FAQ links to NQS Quality Area 2 and EYLF Learning Outcomes 1,2 and 3. For explicit links, refer to the Physical Activity and Cultural Diversity fact sheet. You can also see examples of evidence of EYLF learning outcomes related to physical activity and active play in the Evidence of Early Years Learning Framework learning outcomes fact sheet.

References:

UNICEF. (2013). United Nations convention on the rights of the child. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org.au/Upload/UNICEF/Media/Our%20work/childfriendlycrc.pdf

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (2013). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Retrieved from: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/the-national-quality-standard

Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.education.gov.au/early-years-learning-framework

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How much screen time is appropriate for my child?


The recommended viewing of screen time for 3-5 year olds is less than one hour per day.  It is recommended that children under 2 years of age do not have any screen time.  Screen time can include activities such as watching television, and other electronic media, including DVDs, and/or computer and electronic games. One of the issues with screen time is that it requires a lot of “watching and listening” and takes away quality time from social interaction and being physically active. However, there are ways to make screen time more physically active. These may include:

  • DVDs that contain enough music to encourage children to be active or dance, such as The Wiggles, Hi-5, The Hooley Dooleys, The Fairies or Bindi the Jungle Girl
  • Play School, which encourages children to move their bodies in lots of different ways during the program
  • The Upside Down Show which encourages interesting and hilarious ways to move.
  • Specific Physical Activity DVD’s such as the “Get Activated” series by Active Kidz.
  • Electronic games that require children to get up and moving, for example WiiFit

If screen time is used with children on any given day, there should be a communication method to convey this to the parents so they are aware that the recommended time has been utilised during the period of care. This can be done via:

  • Direct communication with the parent when they collect their child/children
  • The communication book
  • A note on attendance (sign in) sheets
  • A sign on the entry door showing how much of a child’s allowed screen time has been used on that particular day, in accordance with the parents nominated allowance of viewing time.
  • Other methods as determined by the education setting
     

This FAQ links to NQS Quality Area 2 and EYLF Learning Outcome 4 and 5. For explicit links, refer to the Screen Time fact sheet. You can also see examples of evidence of EYLF learning outcomes related to physical activity and active play in the Evidence of Early Years Learning Framework learning outcomes fact sheet.

References:

Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#rec_0_5

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (2013). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Retrieved from: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/the-national-quality-standard

Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.education.gov.au/early-years-learning-framework

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How much physical activity does my child need?


As suggested by the National Physical Activity Recommendations for 0-5 years, toddlers (1-3 years) and preschoolers (3-5 years) should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day. Children do not need to do their three hours of physical activity all at once. Instead it can be accumulated throughout the day, and include light activity such as standing up, moving around, and playing; as well as more vigorous activity like running and jumping. The best way for young children to be physically active is through active play.

Infants (birth to 1 year):

For healthy development in infants (birth-1 year), physical activity (particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments) should be encouraged from birth.

  • Before infants begin to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time
  • Once infants are mobile, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment

This FAQ links to NQS Quality Area 2 and EYLF Learning Outcome 3. You can also see examples of evidence of EYLF learning outcomes related to physical activity and active play in the Evidence of Early Years Learning Framework learning outcomes fact sheet.

References:

Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#rec_0_5

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (2013). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Retrieved from: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/the-national-quality-standard

Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.education.gov.au/early-years-learning-framework

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What do I need to consider when involving children with a disability in physical activity?


For children with a disability, the main barrier to participating in physical activity is often the attitudes and assumptions of people around them, rather than the disability itself. Opportunities for inclusion can generally be found when it is assumed that children with a disability have the same right and need to participate in physical activity as other children do. It is also essential that other children in the setting be taught to respect diversity and difference and allow children with disabilities the time and space to participate in physical activities alongside them.  Through this learning process, all children become more compassionate and inclusive and everyone can feel a sense of belonging to the group.

When involving children with a disability in physical activity, it is crucial to work in partnership with the child’s parents/caregivers, the child themselves, health professionals (such as doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapist etc.) to get a clear of idea of what, how and when the child can participate in physical activities.

A process can be developed to assist the child’s participation by considering the child’s:

-Overall health status
-Activity preferences
-Safety
-Availability of equipment and resources (contact organisations such as Noah’s Ark to assist with equipment and resources www.noahsark.net.au)

Along with participating in structured games, children with a disability can participate in the unstructured movement activities that occur naturally within a regular day, such as:

  • Collecting rocks, leaves, flowers
  • Treasure hunts
  • Gardening
  • Balancing bodies on huge balls
  • Lifting and stacking blocks
  • Flying kites
  • Using hula hoops
  • Dancing
  • Chasing bubbles
  • Hopscotch
  • Hide and seek
  • Swings
  • Slides

This FAQ links to NQS Quality Area 2,3 and 6 and EYLF Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3. For explicit links, refer to the Physical Activity and Disability fact sheet. You can also see examples of evidence of EYLF learning outcomes related to physical activity and active play in the Evidence of Early Years Learning Framework learning outcomes fact sheet.

References:

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (2013). Guide to the National Quality Standard. Retrieved from: http://www.acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/the-national-quality-standard

Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Retrieved from: https://www.education.gov.au/early-years-learning-framework

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What does active play look like?


Active play can be seen through a child participating in some form of physical movement either indoor and/or outdoor. This physical play may involve spontaneous high bursts of energy, such as running, jumping, crawling, rolling, climbing, dancing or energetic dancing. It can also include simple light intensity movements, where children are walking, moving from sitting to standing positions, or doing simple climbing or dance movements. . Active play within the ECEC setting could be children participating in structured active play through organised activities and games led by educators; or unstructured active play, where children are simply playing using their own imagination either individually or in small groups.

Reference:

Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#rec_0_5 

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How can I encourage active play?


There are many ways to encourage active play within the ECEC setting. Here are just a few suggestions:

Set aside specific times for children to participate in active play through the day.
Plan some activities for those times that will create opportunities for moderate to energetic movement, the Active Play page of this website has some examples
Avoid using screen time with children if possible. If you must use screen time make it an active play opportunity by selecting something that encourages movement eg dancing. Encourage all children to participate by leading by example and moving and dancing yourself.
Play along yourself, children copy what adults are doing, if you stay active and play with children, they will be likely to more active
During story time, get children to act out the story, so they have to move around rather than sit still.

Provide a range of different active play equipment for children to access, for more information on items that can be used in Active Play refer to the fact sheet on this website. If you are interested in purchasing active play equipment this page has some suggestions.

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Does the three hours of active play have to be done all at one time?


It is important to remember that the recommended period of active play does not have to occur all at one time. Instead, it is best to schedule active play in short, frequent periods throughout the day. Scheduling regular breaks from more sedentary activities such as craft, reading, listening and fine motor activities, will allow active play time to be embedded across the day. Active play in ECEC settings can set the foundation for active play within home and social environments, so it is important to expose children to positive and enjoyable experiences and communicate this with parents and caretakers.

 Reference: 

Department of Health and Ageing. (2013). Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 years. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#rec_0_5 

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