Physical activity reduces impulsive behaviour
Andrew Smith, CEO of ACPL, says partnering with the team at UCRISE had been an incredible experience.
“It’s the only study globally to show an improvement in physical activity into what's called the maximum exertion of activity. This isn’t just about running and jumping, but actually getting the heart rate up. So, it's the first study in the world to show that and it’s very important for the children as we see increases in obesity and screen time issues, but also getting them ready for school,” Mr Smith said.
“One of the main findings was that an increase in physical activity led to a reduction in impulsive behaviour. The children’s behaviour improved, socialisation improved and they became better at working together.
“There was also evidence that the children showed leadership and a desire to support each other. There were also improvements in cognitive development, as well as expressive vocabulary, which is another important measure of development.”
Lowering stress and anxiety
Another key finding was the heart rate variability in the group receiving the curriculum was higher, which is a strong indicator for reduced stress and anxiety when compared to the group who didn’t receive the AEL curriculum.
The study also showed that the educators were more engaged with the children, the environment was more conducive to learning and the children were ready to learn.
The AEL program was a very personal approach, customised for each early learning centre and delivered using a peer facilitated coaching model. This was seen as the best way to help educators include more physical activity into their existing curriculums.
The coaches visited the centres each week to help lend their support, allowing them to build relationships with educators so that, together, they were able to increase the level of physical literacy.
“The research findings that physical activity can be greatly increased by making some adjustments to the daily routine in early learning centres, combined with improvements in cognitive, social and vocabulary, is great news,” Mr Smith said.
“And from the study came the curriculum which we are now implementing in over 50 centres. We have a professional development pathway for the educators to support them, to help build their confidence to deliver this program every day, both in and outside of the classroom.
“We continue to work closely with the educators and we also have a program that engages parents via social media, keeping them up to date on what's happening with their children so they can become involved and support the centres.
“We conduct baseline testing for all the children and provide reports for the parents as their children transition into school. This shows the impact of the curriculum on their child’s development.
“We also drive awareness in the community; we want people to know that these centres that have the Active Learning Curriculum are really setting the pathway and a strong foundation for their children now and into the future.”