A NEW WA study will investigate the physical activity of local children with the help of a White Gum Valley childcare centre.
The UWA, Telethon Kids Institute and Australian Childcare Alliance PLAYCE study will look into the physical activity levels of children when at home and at childcare to determine what promotes or discourages physical activity in a childcare centre setting.
White Gum Valley’s Little Learners Early Education and Development Centre director Ken Scott-Hamilton said physical activity was an important part of its daily program and it was excited to be part of the study.
“It was a simple decision, we firmly believe in the significant, long-term benefits of physical activity for young children and that is why we created our nature playground in 2015 and why we actively encourage the children to be outdoors for a significant proportion of each day,” he said.
“Over the course of a two-week period our educators and children between the ages of two and five will be given a ‘super hero’ belt to wear that will monitor their physical activity while at Little Learners and at home each day prior to going to sleep at night.
“The study will assess the environmental influences on children’s physical activity, such as availability of outdoor running space, play equipment and physical activity.”
UWA research fellow Hayley Christian said the study would run until 2018 and would involve more than 100 centres and 1200 children.
“All of this information will help us to identify the influence of the childcare, home and neighbourhood environment on pre-schoolers physical activity,” she said.
“Daily physical activity is critical in the early years of life and Australian physical activity guidelines recommend pre-school aged children accumulate three hours of physical activity per day.
“The information provided by families attending centres such as Little Learners will help guide futures studies and inform interventions and policies to promote physical activity and health of children attending childcare.”