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Every day, childcare settings and school playgrounds come to life as children crawl, walk, run, jump, climb and skip. When children move and exercise, it not only has immediate benefits like improving fitness, motor skills and self-confidence; it also supports lifelong health and wellbeing.
In your role as an early childhood educator or early primary teacher, you can work with parents to help make movement and exercise a part of children’s everyday life.
Movement is what we do every day. Great examples in newborns and babies are things like lifting and holding up the head, kicking, reaching and grabbing. In preschool to early primary children, walking, cycling and chores are great examples of movement.
Exercise is planned, structured, repetitive and purposeful. Exercise improves or maintains one or more types of physical fitness including endurance, strength and flexibility.
Promoting movement and exercise:
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There are lots of ways that children benefit from movement and exercise. Being active:
One in four Australian children carries too much weight. Unfortunately, research tells us that children who carry excess weight are likely to grow up to become adults who carry too much weight too. This increases their risk of:
The earlier that good physical activity routines start, the more likely children will be to become active adults. Beyond helping to avoid the problems of excess weight, there are lots of other lifelong benefits like stronger self-esteem, social skills and emotional wellbeing.
There is so much that you can do to help children make movement and exercise a part of their everyday life in the childcare setting, classroom and beyond.
Check out the following articles to find out what you can do to raise parents’ and children’s awareness of fun movement and exercise routines and their many benefits.