One year ago, we announced that Active for Life and B2ten were partnering with the Early Years Physical Literacy Research Team to study the impact of physical literacy programming in 20 child care centres in B.C. and Alberta. Now, we’re excited to announce we have received funding from the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program: Children and Families for the second phase of this important research.
Researchers are measuring the impact of physical literacy programming at early years centres in terms of benefits to children, not just in terms of development of physical skills, but also cognitive, social, and emotional development.
There is a good deal of research focusing on the importance of physical activity for school-aged children and youth but much less focusing on preschoolers. Preliminary results of phase one of our study have shown that supporting early childhood educators (ECEs) to incorporate physical literacy into their program might lead to many positive impacts—and not only for the children:
- Support of ECEs enhances children’s opportunities to become physically literate
- Children are more confident and competent
- Educators are more motivated and confident
- Educators and parents are noticing that increased physical literacy programming leads to children who are more focused, calm, creative, and better able to play with friends and solve problems
- Parents have also noticed that their children eat and sleep better and are more confident engaging in family activities such as skiing and hiking
By the end of phase two, 32 childcare centres will have participated in this research. The centres in the control group from phase one became part of the intervention group for phase two. Following the phase two study, the control centres will receive a workshop and free materials to ensure all children will benefit from participating in the study. In all, the two phases of this work will benefit almost 700 children and 200 educators, as well as parents and caregivers of the children in the centres that took part.
Knowledge translation and dissemination of the research findings are key pieces of the project. Academic papers and presentations will inform researchers of the study findings and importantly, we will share the study results with provincial agencies to influence policy and funding decisions.
For ECEs and parents, AfL has created a special page for updates on this study. Watch this space for updates on the study as we share what we are learning!