WA Government partners with Playgroup WA to make healthy bodies and brains
The Western Australian Government and Playgroup WA have joined forces to support young children in WA to develop physical skills and reverse the impact of less active lifestyles on early childhood development.
Launched to coincide with Children’s Week 2019, the Active Bodies and Brains series includes free resources to help adults to understand the importance of fundamental movement skills such as jumping, skipping and catching in the early years.
Research by the University of Western Australia has shown children’s basic movement skills such as throwing a ball or standing on one leg have declined significantly from the last generation to today’s children, with academics noting the importance of fundamental movement skills as underpinning elements for reading and writing, problem solving and brain development.
The program has been developed by the WA Government in conjunction with an occupational therapist and early years experts from Playgroup WA.
The Bodies and Brains series includes:
- nine skills-showcase videos exploring the benefits fundamental skills provide children, and indications of how developed these skills should be in the early years;
- information highlighting the lesser-known benefits of developing fundamental movement skills extending beyond the sporting context, particularly for learning and brain development; and,
- nine fun and easy imaginary play-based games to help get children started.
WA Sport and Recreation Minister Rick Murray said that while in previous generations these fundamental movement skills may have been a “given”, the reality of modern lifestyles meant that children aren’t learning how to jump, throw and catch as well as in previous years.
“We all know today’s kids are playing outside less and engaging in sedentary activities more – so this is about educating adults on the importance of encouraging physical activity and play,” he said.
Mr Murray’s comments were echoed by WA Community Services Minister Simone McGurk who said the evidence about the vital importance of early childhood development continues to grow, and this program presents the case for fundamental movement skills in a way that adults will find easy and fun.
The Building Active Bodies and Brains resources provide families with free and easy, do-at-home activities that will give young children the early opportunities they need to develop healthy and active lives. The activities will be of use for early childhood education and care settings to provide to families, but may also be used in care-based environments.
To access the resource suite, please see here.