ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


Early Childhood Alert No. 6, 2018

Since the Commonwealth Games has started this is a special newsletter edition focused on ... you guessed it: sport! 


1.  Commonwealth Games 

Learn great ideas of what you can do with children over the next couple of weeks and teaching that fits into the curriculum whariki.

Also, learn how the event can be used to support children in learning about goal setting, what it takes to engage in a sport successfully, and about the world outside of where they live.

> Commonwealth Games teaching and learning for under-sixes article


2.  Teaching pre-schoolers sport

Sports are a huge part of most communities, is this reflected in early childhood curricula? Are ECE home and centre-based services and parents doing enough to provide opportunities for young children to discover and enjoy sports? Children enjoy playgrounds with slides, climbing equipment and sandpits. They also enjoy excursions to the supermarket, to a café, to the Zoo and sometimes simply to another playground. But what about bringing sports into the playgrounds and including them in trips out?

Sports may be seen as developmentally inappropriate and considered too structured, too competitive, lacking creativity and being closed rather than open ended activities. Sports-minded people might argue the opposite; sports provide young children with wonderful learning opportunities as well as building perseverance, self-esteem and creativity.

Can ‘P.E.’ be a part of an ECE curriculum? Perhaps, but of course only by doing it the ECE way! 

> Keep reading and find out more


3. Characteristics of optimal outdoor play environments

There is substantial agreement among teachers on what constitutes an optimal outdoor environment for children, alongside a centre's own unique features. Take a look at what these are and consider how well your outdoor area measures up and what design changes would improve it.  

> Go to the study by Cheryl Greenfield.  Characteristics of optimal early childhood centre outdoor environments: Spaces and places in which children and adults want to be. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 15, 42-60.  (a member password is needed for full access)


4. Research on children's physical activity in the early childhood centre environment 

This investigation describes the physical activity behaviours of children attending early childhood education centres and the possible influence of environmental factors on the levels of these behaviours. Children between 3 -5 years wore accelerometers for approximately 18 hours over several days of centre attendance. The raw accelerometer data was used to calculate minutes of sedentary, light, and moderate to vigorous physical activity. Overall a significant period of time was spent in sedentary activities and boys were significantly more active than girls. The results showed interesting relationships between physical activity and the various measures of indoor and outdoor space. This study raises issues regarding the amount of time children spent during the early childhood education centre day in sedentary activities. More work is needed on how teachers utilise the environment to promote and deliver physical activity for young children in the early childhood education setting. 

> Go to the full article (a member password is needed for full access)


5. Rugby under-sixes 

Rugby is part of NZ's culture and central to our cultural identity.

It is a great sport to introduce to children from about 2 years of age. As a sport rugby can help children learn that certain attributes and skills can be developed and grown:

  • attributes such as respect for opponents, concentration, self-control, and perseverance
  • skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

> The why, how, what of including rugby in ECE


6. Bike riding

The benefits of learning to ride a pedal bike for a young child include:

  • Confidence, pride and self-esteem that comes from a sense of accomplishment
  • Knowledge that practice and perseverance really does pay off
  • Goal setting
  • Good fun exercise
  • Independence to roam, explore and take in more of the environment
  • Self-awareness, self-responsibility and empathy - consideration of other footpath or park users
    And lots more…

 Learn about finding the right bikes, helmets, etc, and how to teach bike riding


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