- We believe that engaging in physical activities is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All children are encouraged to take part in a range of age appropriate physical activities as part of their day. Every effort is made to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity to both children and adults.
- From splashing in muddy puddles to pouring water down drainpipes, children learn by “doing” and so develop healthily, emotionally and physically. A child who has the opportunity to run, roll, jump and balance, clap a rhythm, dance or sing an action song can learn about numbers, letters, literature, social relationships and different cultures and much, much more without ever having to sit at a table.
Physical Activity Policy Aims
- To increase activity levels of children and mothers, fathers and carers through the provision of a supportive environment conducive to the promotion of physical activity
- To raise awareness of the need to be physically active in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle
- The activities we provideencourage a range of basic skills andopportunities for each child to reach their full potential and ability, with further provision for enhancing all round development.
Children’s health is an integral part of their emotional, mental, social, environmental and spiritual well-being and is supported by attention to those aspects. The children will be taught to move confidently and imaginatively with increasing control and co-ordination and an awareness of space and of others. They will be encouraged to think about the effect physical activities have on their bodies and the factors that contribute to a healthy body. The children will have opportunities to use large equipment for balancing and climbing as well as small equipment such as balls, bean bags and hoops etc. Children will also respond to rhythm, music and story.
To help young children to develop their moving and handling skills, practitioners should provide lots of opportunities for them to:
- use large muscle movements to explore their immediate environment
- develop fine motor control through manipulating materials and using tools and equipment.
- All children regardless of their needs are entitled to a comprehensive programme of physical activity opportunities which allows everyone to improve their skills of co-ordination, manipulation, control and movement to develop positive attitudes towards physical activities including sports.
- We are inclusive of children from different cultures and religions and staff are aware of the need to be sensitive to individuals’ beliefs about what is acceptable in relation to physical activity. Staffs are creative in their approach for inclusion of children from these backgrounds in relation to physical activity.
- Staff observe and monitor activities in terms of gender access e.g. ensuring that girls have access to large block play, the climbing frames, wheeled toys and football, as well as ensuring that boys have opportunities to take part in activities such aspainting, sewing, collage and the home play area. Staff play an important role in initiating and taking part in activities often seen as those traditionally carriers out by members of theopposite sex.
Physical Activity Programme
Planning for both indoor and outdoor physical activities is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage to allow children to make progress in their physical development to enable them to be more active, move with confidence and control and to encourage learning.
In order for children to learn about managing risks associated with physical activity, the provision aims to respond to these needs and wishes by offering stimulating, challenging environments. Through these environments children need to explore and develop their own abilities and by providing these types of situations the provision aims to manage the level of risk so that children are not exposed to unacceptable dangers, children need to be able to take some level of risk within a controlled environment in order to deal with problem solving skills.
What physical play looks like in our setting:
- Children have access to a wide range of malleable materials that they can squash, stretch, poke, and bend. As well as mixing and manipulating playdough, the children enjoy exploring the properties of clay. This is available in large lumps that require real effort to push and squash into shape, with the emphasis being on the process of manipulating the clay rather than on trying to produce an end product.
- Manipulative toys and games are freely available, and the sand and water areas have lots of resources for filling, emptying, moving, and shaping. The children also enjoy moving and dancing to a wide range of different types of music and story times can often become very active sessions as children act out the stories they hear.
- Outdoors there is a large sandpit and mud kitchen which has and a wide selection of tools, buckets and containers which children use for filling, emptying, and moving sand from place to place. In one corner of the garden there are child-sized garden tools and a patch of soil where children can dig to their hearts content.
- There paints that the children can mix themselves and a selection of different sized brushes and mark making resources.
- Mark making is encouraged in all areas of the setting by making resources available in ways that will encourage the children to use them – clipboards, pens, pencils, and paper in containers. Practitioners model mark making in different situations, helping children to see the connection between the spoken and the written word.
- Practitioners are creative in how they use the outdoor environment and encourage the children to move equipment and resources around to change the spaces. Den making materials and large construction blocks are stored in containers that the children can carry around without adult help.
- Ball games skipping and other outdoor games are accessible to the children.
- Ride in cars, scooters and bikes.
- Chalk boards encourages outdoor mark making, and there are also opportunities to use brushes, sponges, squeezy bottles and water to practise large motor movements by creating patterns.
- Children are encouraged to build obstacle courses that involve crawling, balancing, swinging, climbing, and jumping and to challenge themselves to develop their individual skills. There is space for children to engage in vigorous fantasy play, and the value of this type of creative expression is understood and appreciated.
- The children partake in yoga classes, dance classes and fitness games.
- Singing action songs (e.g. head, shoulder, knees and toes)
- Group games or rhymes which involve following or imitating (duck duck goose, simon says, musical chairs, musical bumps, musical statues)
We aspire to be positive role models for our children. We aim to take part in physical activity whenever possible.
Working with Families:
- Parental support is vital to help young children make the most of being active, all day and every day. By working closely with parents and carers we can ensure that the families that attend our setting are aware of the importance of physical activity for their children and themselves.
- We display information about events in the local community, including places of local interest and family activities you and your child can do there.
- We require parents support in getting our children ready to play outdoors by providing clothing for your child to play outside in all weathers (apart from the most extreme weather conditions):
- They’ll need a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves for the winter months and if possible wellies and waterproof clothing for wet weather.
- In the summer, sun hats, sun cream and thin long sleeved tops are essential for hot weather as we have limited shade.
We promote active travel, active travel is valuable for keeping us all fit, especially children. It involves using activities such as walking, pedalling a bike or trike or using a scooter to travel. A s well as offering both children and families an opportunity to build physical activity into their daily routine, it provides a great chance for young children to learn about road and pedestrian safety.
Ideas for Parents:
The latest recommendations from the Department of Health are that:
- Physical activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor-based play and safe waterbased
- Children of pre-school age who are walking should be physically active daily for at least 180 minutes (3 hours), spread throughout the day.
- All children under five should minimise the amount of time spent sitting down for extended periods, except when sleeping.
Helping your child to develop their moving and handling skills:
To encourage children to be physically active, and to help them learn how to use tools and materials, they need lots of opportunities to:
- move around and make big movements using their arms, legs and whole bodies
- handle smaller objects to help develop their small muscle control.
You could use the ideas below as starting points to help you to do this.
- Place a mobile above your baby’s cot so he can practise controlling his eye movements.
- Reaching out to grasp a toy strengthens muscles and develops hand eye coordination.
- Place your baby on his tummy on a rug to encourage him to lift his head and to strengthen the muscles in his arms, body and neck.
- Your baby needs lots of opportunities for free movement during the day, rather than being strapped into a baby carrier or high chair.
- Stacking things up, knocking them down, ‘posting’ things, and putting things into bags and boxes are activities which toddlers love, and they help to develop their coordination and control.
- Try to find time for your child to be active out of doors every day – walking, running, and playing.
- Let your child go barefoot out of doors on a warm day to experience walking on different surfaces.
Two- to three-year-olds
- Dancing is a great way to develop coordination skills.
- Read a story together and act out what is happening – this is also a good way to develop imagination and
- Poking and pinching playdough or clay helps to strengthen the fingers, hand and wrist.
- Jigsaw puzzles and toys that fit together are good ways to develop hand control.
- Threading things – pasta shapes, buttons or large beads – encourages fine finger movements.
- Helping with simple chores around the home such as sweeping, tidying up toys, and lifting things develops and strengthens muscles.
- Play throwing and catching games that involve big arm movements strengthen shoulder and arm muscles.
Four- to five-year-olds
- Help your child to learn how to use simple tools such as scissors – practice makes perfect.
- Helping with household tasks such as setting the table builds coordination and control.
- Draw outdoors with chalks or make patterns in the mud with a stick.
- Use a squeezy bottle filled with water to shoot at a target or knock down a skittle.
- Make a place to dig outside where children can develop muscle control and coordination.
- Bikes and scooters are an exciting way to get lots of vigorous exercise.
- Try to make sure your child is physically active for at least three hours every day.