Healthy Movers

Aim – The Healthy Movers programme, developed by children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust, is being run by the charity and Active Cornwall to develop physical literacy in early years children to improve their school readiness and social mobility.

The programme provides training to Early Years practitioners to develop their skills and confidence in supporting three, four and five-year-olds with the opportunity to improve their physical development and develop their speech and reading.

The training focuses on how to develop the whole child through engaging, purposeful physical activities in the early years, as well as offering physical literacy theory and practical ideas. 

We know from Sport England’s Uniting the Movement that if children and young people have experiences that feel fun, positive and give them a sense of confidence, they’re more likely to want to be active in the future. What we like about the Healthy Movers ethos is, although it’s building on physical development, literacy and activity, at its core is the drive for fun and play.

Social inequalities has led to:

12% of 2 year olds are not reaching a good level of development (2019/20)
30% EYFS are not reaching good levels of development (2018/19)
25% of children in Years 1-2 are doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day
12% of 2 year olds are not reaching a good level of development (2019/20)
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Settings that have taken part in Healthy Movers

Settings that have taken part have all been chosen based on our aim to help tackle inequalities in physical activity. These inequalities include those faced by families living in areas of high deprivation, those with long-term health conditions (mental and physical) and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Phase 2: 2021-2022

In 2021, we were successful in securing funding from Public Health and the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) to implement Healthy Movers across Cornwall. This was in response to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on infant development. 

Nationally and locally, many children have been behind expected levels in their development, including gross and fine motor skills, communication and language, and personal, social and emotional skills. 

After completion of this programme, practitioners reported an improvement in all areas of development:

Improvement in personal, social and emotional development from 69% to 99%

Improvement in speech, language and communication from 73% to 91%

Visible Value

Invisible Value

YST delivered: 3 training days, 4 networking opportunities, 2 parental engagement sessions, 5 power-hour sessions, up to 10 support sessions per setting, 740 children backpacks and 24 practitioner resource packs

Engagement in the programme: 24 settings, 80 practitioners, 955 children and 504 parents and carers

Surveys completed: 24 practitioner surveys and 34 parent surveys completed at the end of the programme

Data taken: sample of 226 children

96% parents gained increased understanding of being active and helped the whole family be more active

100% of practitioners feel more confident and competent after receiving Healthy Movers training

100% of practitioners feel that this programme has improved how they deliver physical activity

100% of practitioners feel more confident to engage parents and carers in physical activity with their children

Case studies: 5 case studies completed

1 film developed

Improvement in speech and language: from 73% to 91% of children (met goals)

Improvement in physical literacy (object control, locomotion and stability): from 3.6 to 6.5 (levels)

Improvement in physical literacy (engagement, motivation and confidence): from 2.3 to 3.5 (levels)

Improvement in personal, social and emotional development: 69% to 99% of children (met goals)

Practitioners have reported that children are better prepared for starting school because they can:

follow instructions, pay attention and listen

use pencils and write with more confidence

share items with other children

perserve with new activities and know it's okay to find things difficult

understand group work and schedules

take learning from setting and apply at home

sit for longer periods at desks

perform self-care tasks by themselves (for example, unzipping lunch box, wiping bottom, putting on coat and shoes and navigating classrooms)

Practitioners have reported a very positive impact on children with special educational needs and disabilities and those who have English as a second language

Pilot Programme 2019-2020

The project was trialled in Cornwall in a pilot run from April 2019 – March 2020. More than 979 children took part, with 52 practitioners, along with 305 parents who attended stay and play sessions.

Every practitioner that took part rated their experience of Healthy Movers as good or very good, with 95% saying it had helped them further improve their relationships with parents.

It was felt that significant increases were seen in all key areas of children’s learning.

Practitioners reported changes in children’s relationships, their ability to follow instructions and their listening skills – all of which are key to support their school readiness. Parents reported their child’s physical activity levels and enjoyment of being active had increased.

This feedback was fundamental in the decision to roll out Healthy Movers across Cornwall.

develop the whole child through engaging, purposeful physical activities in the early years, as well as offering physical literacy theory and practical ideas. 

We know from Sport England’s Uniting the Movement that if children and young people have experiences that feel fun, positive and give them a sense of confidence, they’re more likely to want to be active in the future. What we like about the Healthy Movers ethos is, although it’s building on physical development, literacy and activity, at its core is the drive for fun and play.

Youth Sport Trust

The Youth Sport Trust is the UK’s leading charity improving every young person’s education and development through sport and play. It developed Healthy Movers in a bid to tackle declining physical literacy in early years children across the UK and improve their school readiness and social mobility. This has been exacerbated during the pandemic.

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