UWA study shows children lack physical skills

UWA KIDDO program director Amanda Derbyshire and Goodstart Nollamara childcare centre director and parent Kylee Rangirangi with daughter Sidney Teale (right) and Riley Papa-Bratanov (left).
UWA KIDDO program director Amanda Derbyshire and Goodstart Nollamara childcare centre director and parent Kylee Rangirangi with daughter Sidney Teale (right) and Riley Papa-Bratanov (left).

THE University of Western Australia has found thousands of children lacked basic physical skills, as part of a research program.

The KIDDO program involved more than 4000 children aged between three and eight years of age from 41 schools and 11 early childhood education centres, including Goodstart Nollamara childcare centre.

It found many children fell short of developing balance, running, jumping and ball skills.

Program director Amanda Derbyshire said children aged below 10 who did not develop basic movement skills, were a chance of being less active as they grew older.

“It’s vital we get children moving early and make physical development a key component of their daily routine when at school or in early childhood education and care,” she said.

“A quality program at school and early childhood education and care is crucial because they spend a large amount of their time there.

“There was a 61 per cent improvement in over-arm throwing and a 13 per cent improvement in general movement skills through the program.

“The average pre-primary child who could throw three metres at the start of the program could throw 4.8 metres in just eight weeks.”

Associate Professor Hayley Christian said national programs and sustainable funding models were needed to support early childhood care and education providers.

“The success of the KIDDO program provides a case study of just what could be achieved if national policies were in place,” she said.

“Our research indicates that the average kindergarten kid can bounce a ball eight times in 20 seconds, whereas 20 years ago they could bounce and catch the ball 14 times.”

The program, which is supported by Healthway, is open to primary schools, early childhood education providers and the public.

For information, visit www.kiddo.edu.au/about-kiddo-program

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