The KIDDO program, taken up by Goodstart Rockingham, Welshpool and Nollamara, teaches educators to take an active role in the sessions and learn the skills and games alongside the children.
Run during a four-week period, with four 45-minute sessions, University of Western Australia employees visit the centres, providing educators with the skills and knowledge they need to run purposeful planned activity with the children.
Before the beginning of the KIDDO program, the team visits each centre to conduct a movement assessment of children aged three years or more.
The centre and parents then receive an individual report of the results as well as recommendations for the continued development of the child’s physical literacy.
Physical literacy is all about developing not just the movement skills of children but just as importantly the motivation and confidence to be active.
KIDDO program director Amanda Derbyshire said the program, funded by Healthway, is a way for UWA researchers to translate their research findings into the community.
This helps educators deliver programs to encourage more children to develop the skills and confidence to be active.
“Children today are less active and less skilled than 20 years ago,” Ms Derbyshire said.
“If a child can learn to balance, run, jump and catch and most importantly enjoy being active, then this will give them the opportunity to be active across childhood, adolescence and into adulthood - whether by playing sport, going for a bike ride or exercising at the gym.”
WA state manager Todd Dawson said between two and eight years old children had the best opportunity for developing the skills of running, jumping, catching and throwing.
“Just as important as the actual skills they are learning, are the confidence and motivation to be active,” Mr Dawson said. “Children who enjoy being active are a lot more likely to continue being active throughout their lives.
“And those who are active and spend more time outdoors are happier and healthier, less anxious and less stressed – problems that are increasing in today’s children.”
Nollamara centre director Kylee Rangirangi said the program had been successful in engaging the children to take part in the games on offer.
“It’s been a really spontaneous way for the children to put into action what they are learning,” Ms Rangirangi said.
“Educators get a lot out of the program and it helps in the set-up of outdoor equipment and planning.”
Welshpool lead educator Jay Jaisal said KIDDO introduced fresh ideas and approaches to learning at the centre.