A hop, skip and a jump to healthy bodies and brains

  • McGowan Government partners with Playgroup WA to develop fundamental movement skills in young children
  • Children’s basic physical skills have declined with less active lifestyles compared to previous generations
  • Building Active Bodies and Brains resources will help parents improve young children’s physical and mental development
  • The McGowan Government and Playgroup WA are partnering to help parents develop physical skills in young children and reverse the impact of less active lifestyles on early childhood development.

    Launched to coincide with Children’s Week 2019, the Active Bodies and Brains series includes free resources to help parents understand the importance of fundamental movement skills such as jumping, skipping and catching.

    Research by the University of Western Australia has shown children’s basic movement skills such as throwing a ball or standing on one leg have declined significantly from the last generation to today’s children.

    The importance of fundamental movement skills is not just about its impact on sporting ability – with physical activity also important for reading and writing, problem solving and brain development.

    The program has been developed by the State Government in conjunction with an occupational therapist and early years experts from Playgroup WA.

    The Bodies and Brains series includes:

    • nine skills-showcase videos exploring the benefits fundamental skills provide children, and indications of how developed these skills should be in the early years;
    • information which highlights the lesser-known benefits of developing fundamental movement skills extending beyond the sporting context, particularly for learning and brain development; and
    • nine fun and easy imaginary play-based games to help get children started.

    As stated by Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:

    “For older generations, these skills seem like a given, but the unfortunate reality of some of today’s lifestyles means kids aren’t learning to jump, throw and catch as well as in previous years.

    “We all know today’s kids are playing outside less and engaging in sedentary activities more – so this is about educating parents on the importance of encouraging physical activity and play.

    “This isn’t just about making sure kids have the skills to get out on the sporting field. The research shows physical development is an important part of supporting growing brains to learn and develop at school and beyond.”

    As stated by Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:

    “The evidence about the vital importance of early childhood development continues to grow, and this program presents the case for fundamental movement skills in a way that parents will find easy and fun.

    “These resources will empower parents to teach kids key physical skills like jumping and throwing – skills that don’t always develop naturally – at home.

    “The incredible benefits go far beyond physical skills – they play an important role in cognitive development and lay the foundations for lifelong physical wellbeing.”

    As stated by Playgroup WA chief executive David Zarb:

    “The Building Active Bodies and Brains resources provide families with free and easy, do-at-home activities that will give young children the early opportunities they need to develop healthy and active lives.”

    Sport and Recreation Minister’s office – 6552 6400

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