Supporting practitioners get under fives active
Claire Hamilton from Startwell tells us why physical activity is so important to her work in the early years
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The best start in life
We believe that every child should have the best start in life and being active is vital for young children's optimal health, wellbeing and development. This is why The Best Start in Life sets out four key asks for policy makers to ensure every child has access to high quality physical activity opportunities from birth.
91% of children aged 2-4 years do not meet the Chief Medical Officers’ physical activity guidelines for their age group of three hours per day. We’re concerned because these children are missing out on opportunities for health and development. It’s proven that physical activity for young children supports brain development, enhances bone and muscular development and benefits social and cognitive skill development and emotional wellbeing. We also know that establishing an active life in the early years lays the foundation to continue being active into adulthood.
Within our manifesto we’re asking policy makers to embed early years physical activity into physical activity policy nationally, regionally and locally to ensure physical activity is supported across the UK at home, in early years settings and in the community.
Within this supportive policy environment, the manifesto has four key asks.
Awareness: Comprehensive awareness raising, to ensure health and education professionals and families are aware of, and act upon, the Chief Medical Officers' physical activity guidelines for the early years (2011)
Education: Greater emphasis on the importance of physical activity across the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, alongside clear guidance and training for early years practitioners on how to promote and develop children’s physical activity.
Environment: All children in the early years should have safe, stimulating and accessible physical activity and active travel opportunities in their community.
Health: Health professionals should track the physical activity levels of children in the early years alongside other health behaviours. These results should be shared with parents whilst supporting them to take positive action to increase physical activity levels among their children.
Show your support
Please join other organisations and early years practitioners and leave us a message of support for The Best Start in Life. We will collect these and share them on our website and on social media.
Take a look at the kind messages of support The Best Start in Life by downloading the booklet below.
Write to your local MP
Contacting your local MP and telling them why early years physical activity is important to you has a big impact. This is your opportunity to have your say by telling your MP why this is so important and asking them to raise the issues with ministers who can make a difference.
Support the manifesto on social media
You can tweet us @BHFactive and tell us why early years physical activity is important to you. Don’t forget to use #BestStart in your tweet and share the "I believe children should have the best start in life" picture.
Tools to help support early years physical activity
The BHFNC offers training to support practitioners develop a better understanding of the importance of early movement opportunities for the 0-5 age group and raise confidence to organise enabling environments for physical activity for the children in their care.
For more information visit our training page
We also offer a range of free evidence-based resources to provide professionals with practical tools to promote physical activity.
For more information visit our resources page