24 June 2021

Its Research Thursday!

We know the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) environment plays an important role in encouraging young children to be physically active. Educators' may be an important factor influencing children's physical activity and sedentary behaviour, however limited evidence exists. This study examined the relationships between educators’ and children's physical activity and sedentary behaviours within ECEC settings.

The researchers found that a significant association was reported between educators’ sedentary behaviour and children's sedentary behaviour Educators spent 61% of their work day in sedentary behaviour. Surprisingly no significant associations were reported between educators’ physical activity and children's physical activity.

What does this mean?

It means that if we can reduce the amount of time educator’s are sedentary at work we can have an impact on improving children’s physical activity levels and thus health and wellbeing outcomes. Simple strategies such as educator’s engaging in children’s play through prompting and role modelling could be effective.

Take Home Message

Decreasing educator sedentary behaviour will have a positive influence on children's sedentary behaviour and physical activity.

The outdoor environment is critical for children's physical activity, and so quality interactions and engagement between educators and children is critical in this environment to promote healthy behaviours. 

Try simple methods of engaging with children in active play such as prompting and role modelling. KIDDO have a great Prompting Poster that can be put up around the centre to encourage engagement by educators.