Healthy Movers Programme: Establishing the building blocks for an active and healthy life.
Using a workforce development grant obtained by team BEDS&LUTON, Central Bedfordshire Council was able to commission the Youth Sport Trust to deliver a 'Healthy Movers' physical literacy project in Eighteen Early Years settings across Central Bedfordshire.
The programme set out to measure the impact physical activity has upon a child's development and readiness to learn. Healthy Movers supported both families and early years staff to develop the necessary skills and knowledge; enabling children to increase their self-esteem, movement and ability to learn.
Physical activity is fundamental in the early years of a child's life. It helps children to acquire a range of new skills such as language and numeracy, develop their brains and establish the building blocks for an active and healthy life.
Nationally, statistics show that only 9% of boys and 10% of girls aged between 2-4 are sufficiently physically active. In Central Bedfordshire, one in five 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese in childhood has consequences for health in both the short term and the longer term. Once established, obesity is notoriously difficult to treat, so prevention and early intervention are very important.
Central Bedfordshire's Health & Wellbeing Board agreed a whole systems approach to addressing the effects of obesity. They identified that the most deprived locations in Central Bedfordshire had the highest rates of child obesity, with higher levels of inactivity.
Aims and objectives: Healthy Movers
- Developing physical literacy as a means of increasing physical activity and improving young children's readiness to learn.
- Embedding a sustainable approach to physical activity in the early years contributing towards social and emotional wellbeing.
- Early intervention including parental engagement to support adoption healthy behaviours leading to reduced levels of childhood obesity.
The Youth Sports Trust provided to the 18 Early Years settings:
- A training course to provide an 'Early Movers Champion' from each setting in early Spring 2020 (before Covid-19)
- Ongoing support for 1 year for mentoring and support
- A suite of Healthy Movers resources/activity cards
- Support trained champions in each setting to cascade their learning to colleagues
- Identify opportunities to signpost families to existing services and training staff to know what is available locally.
- Identify gaps in service provision and opportunities to work collaboratively to meet any unmet demand.
The Settings as a result of their training:
- Had to adapted their approach to the programme to meet the needs of the Pandemic
- Provided Virtual sessions to their families via closed Facebook groups and Microsoft Teams
- Online videos were created so that the vast majority of our families can access the activities whilst at home