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.

There will also be networking sessions for practitioners, ongoing support and plans to upskill the local workforce to become Healthy Mover ambassadors, to ensure sustainability of the programme.

Parents will be given the option to stay and play so they can enjoy the programme as well. It’s also hoped that this will encourage families to continue activities at home with siblings and other members.

Infants from households in areas of high deprivation, such as Redruth and Camborne, Liskeard, Newquay, Penzance, St Austell and Bodmin, and those from household where perhaps their social, economical and environmental factors are not protective, have a steeper hill to climb when it comes to their Early Years Development. Even more so after the COVID pandemic. This is why we are targeting these areas of Cornwall specifically.

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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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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