Presentation - ECV2022-319
The impact of directors’ lived experience on promoting physical activity and motor skill development in early childhood education and care settings
Kelly Tribolet,Charles Sturt University, Australia (email@example.com)
Background: As more children spend time in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in the years before starting school, these settings have become important for supporting active lifestyles and developing long-term health behaviours (World Health Organization, 2017). However, researchers have shown there are significant differences between early childhood services in the provision of, and children’s participation in, physically active experiences. Therefore, it is important to consider the influence of the director on promoting physical activity and motor skill development within their ECEC setting.
Aim: To understand the underlying factors that influence directors’ provision and implementation of physically active play experiences in ECEC settings during outdoor play.
Method: Guided interviews were conducted with directors from three Australian ECEC settings. These data were analysed through a Bourdieuan theoretical lens and his constructs of field, habitus, and capital. Observational data of nine ECEC educators’ interactions with children during outdoor play were also collected across these settings and were analysed within the affordance framework of Kyttä’s Field of Action.
Results: The impact of directors’ lived experience on promoting physical activity and motor skill development in early childhood education and care settings included:
- Philosophical beliefs about the purpose of outdoor play
- Resources and experiences provided to promote physical activity and motor skill development
- Expectations of the role of educators during outdoor play
- Children’s engagement in physically active play
Conclusions: This multiple case study research identified the complex relationship between pedagogical and philosophical beliefs, personal experience, and actual practices. The findings highlight the significant influence of the director in establishing the organisational culture, ethos and environment for promoting physical activity and motor skills.
Implications for children and families: Your ECEC director plays an important role in promoting physical activity and motor skill development for your child/ren.
Implications for practitioners: Your personal experiences and philosophies about outdoor play impact how physically active play and motor skill development is promoted within your setting. It is important for you to consider the role of educators during outdoor play to be one of adult engagement and participation rather than supervisory to encourage children to be more physically active in your early childhood service.
Key words: professionals’ voices, wellbeing, health, qualitative methods
This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: