Herts Mini Movers

You will find a range of support available to educators working with young children to engage in and promote movement play and physical activity.

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All children including babies and young children have the right to the best possible health and development as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 

Movement matters in early childhood and is critical for the future health and development of all children.  Movement begins from birth, and is their first form of communication as they begin to explore the world around them.  Movement play and physical activity lay the foundations for all  movement patterns and skills we need throughout our life.  It is vital during this time that children have the FREEDOM and SPACE to move without restrictions.

We only need to stop and observe young children to see how movement is embedded within the very core of all early childhood development.  The development of the vestibular system as baby turns in utero, the manipulation of the body for childbirth, the urge to explore the world in early infanthood, all demonstrate the power of innate movement.  Yet across the globe we are seeing a decline in children’s physical activity and subsequent levels of physical development.

As a researcher, lecturer, and consultant in early childhood physical development I have seen the deleterious effects this developmental delay has on other areas of learning and the impact may linger for years.

The national and global recommendations of physical activity for children aged 2-5 years is 180 minutes (3 hours) and 60 minutes of that time should be high active/intense physical activity (MVPA – Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity).   Recent research indicates only 9% of UK children are reaching those levels.  

Every child has the right to rest, relax, play and take part in cultural and creative activities as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 

Early Childhood Physical Activity should be taken seriously and given the priority it warrants, the UNESCO convention on the rights of the child highlight such value in 3 articles.

Article 31

1. States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

Article 29

1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:

(a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;

Article 27

1. States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

We all have a role to play in supporting young children’s physical health. 

Without experience, exposure, and developing mastery (learning and embedding physical skills) in the earliest of years, children’s movement potential, muscle tone, stamina, and elasticity may disengage the body and mind’s ability to engage in physical activity.

In 2019 the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) set out the recommended levels of physical activity for 0-5 years:

Infants (less than 1 year):

• Infants should be physically active several times every day in a variety of ways, including interactive floor-based activity, e.g. crawling.

• For infants not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake (and other movements such as reaching and grasping, pushing and pulling themselves independently, or rolling over); more is better.

Toddlers (1-2 years):

• Toddlers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including active and outdoor play, spread throughout the day; more is better.

Pre-schoolers (3-4 years):

• Pre-schoolers should spend at least 180 minutes (3 hours) per day in a variety of physical activities spread throughout the day, including active and outdoor play. More is better; the 180 minutes should include at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity.

ACTIVITY AREAS/Fundamental Movement Skills:

Get in touch…

If you have a question about Early Years, please email: earlyyears@herts.ac.uk