Our current wellbeing focus has a big movement aspect to it and here's why we have and continue to invest heavily in giving our Cherry Grover's lots of active options!
Numerous reports show that active play during the first five years of a child's life is essential for their wellbeing and happiness. In fact, health, wellbeing, and active play are considered so important that the United Nations convention has recognised it as part of the rights of a child. Active play has been shown to increase the wellness of children through mental health, behaviour, improved movement and gross motor development, competent skills and agility, and brain development including communication, emotional, and social functioning.
For the last 16 months, Cherry Grove Childcare and Family Centre has engaged the services of Coach Tom from Playball who does sessions of active play each week for our children aged between 2 and 5 years of age.
Playball is designed to spark a child's love of sport with fun interactive games to encourage participation, confidence, and build a healthy self-image. Active time like this is important to improve basic movement, enhance gross motor development, and for refining sports abilities and techniques. Our playball programmes that Coach Tom provides to our Cherry Grover’s are age specific with each of the sessions taking into account the difference in the cooperative, emotional, and social development of the children in each group. On top of that, children are taught to listen to instructions, to observe demonstrations attentively, to concentrate while attempting the skills, and to value participating in a group environment. This also allows our Cherry Grover’s to learn respect for others, cooperate well, take turns, be flexible, and be a good sport to those they are playing with.
It is very important for young children to learn confidence in how to play well with others. As a result, all of our sports programming at Cherry Grove is non-competitive and designed to provide all children with the opportunity to participate in their own way and at their own ability. This allows children to experience sport as a happy and positive one.
Both Cherry Grove and Playball uses a variety of sports equipment that is designed to be fun and keep children focused on engagement. Through enjoyment, research has shown that children learn to love sport if they are able to contribute in an engaging environment where they are fully supported to be the best they can be. This allows the confidence and motivation to continue on at more competitive sports levels as a child develops and grows.
Cherry Grove has a large outdoor park type of setting to allow for lots of different movement experiences for our children. Sport New Zealand has shown that movement experiences in the earlier years need to be wider that just developing physical skills or learning competencies that allow the children to be involved in sports.
Sport New Zealand uses a physical literacy approach that suggests under 5 year old's require physical movement in everyday life environments, including nature, in order to encourage creativity, imagination, and exploration. For this reason, Cherry Grove also uses play, along with structured sessions, as an essential way for children to be able to use movement through a wide range of experiences. Play is voluntary, instinctive, creative, and adaptive, and a universal behaviour that is fun and performed with no goal in mind. This allows children to be active and make sense of their world without limitations imposed by kaiako unnecessarily. Quality play takes many forms such as, rough and tumble, imaginative, locomotive, and decision making around risks and challenges.
Movement for wellbeing and development must include children experiencing a mix of adult-lead activities and opportunities to be active without excess adult interference in a variety of difference environments. Using both these teaching strategies allows all tamariki to positively gain from movement in their world.
Tomorrow at Cherry Grove is Fun Friday and while we can't share it together personally, we can get active with some Jump Jam from our bubbles. I urge bubbles to virtually join me and have some fun jump jamming our way through Fun Friday at Alert Level 4.
Wishing all our families a happy day of wellness tomorrow and every day xx