Early Movers in Occupational Therapy
The first 5 years form the building blocks for a child’s life, making the early years crucial for influencing the long-term wellbeing of children with developmental disabilities. Occupational therapy focuses on turning disability into ability in this life stage through early intervention programming. The 24-h Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (which provide recommendations for children’s physical activity, sleep, and sedentary time) can support this development. There is a disconnect, however, in the use of this resource in early intervention, and children with disabilities are less likely to meet the guidelines than their peers. Occupational therapists could bridge this gap, by using this resource to support children with disabilities, but we first need to understand their capacity to do so. This research will investigate the appropriateness of incorporating the guidelines as a paediatric occupational therapy early intervention approach. This research will inform the future applications of the guidelines in practice, in support of the occupational skill acquisition of young children with disabilities.
Irritability in young childhood, such as throwing temper tantrums, may be a precursor to common mental health disorders including depression and anxiety later in life. Very little is known about how health behaviours are associated with symptoms of irritability in young children. Therefore, the purpose of the MOvement behaviours and irritaBILITY in early childhood (MOBILITY) study is to understand how young children’s 24-hour movement behaviours (i.e., physical activity, sleep, time spent sitting) are related to symptoms of irritability over time.
The purpose of the Training EArly CHildhood educators in physical activity (TEACH) study is to develop and implement a physical activity and sedentary behaviour e-Learning training module for post-secondary Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs to better support students’ related learning.
The hope is to scaffold ECE students’ self-efficacy, and provide them with the tools necessary, to promote and lead physical activity opportunities in childcare settings.
Currently, formal written physical activity policy is lacking in Canadian childcare centres. The purpose of the PhysicaL ActivitY (PLAY) Policy pilot study was to explore the effects of implementing a written physical activity policy has on toddlers’ and preschoolers’ physical activity levels. This institutional level policy provides Early Childhood Educators with guidance on the appropriate daily physical activity, outdoor play, and (reduced) screen time affordances in childcare.
RETURN TO PLAY
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, many children’s opportunities for physical activity and play have changed. Schools, outdoor playgrounds, and sports facilities that previously supported movement opportunities have been deemed inaccessible. The purpose of this study is to explore Ontario parents’ perspectives regarding their children's return to play opportunities that support physical activity during and post-pandemic. In addition, children's (< 12 years) voices regarding the COVID-19 pandemic on their play opportunities are being explored. The findings from this work will share import insights regarding Ontario families Return to Play/Sport plans during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ACT-i-Pass is a free community-based physical activity program in London, Ontario that offers grade five children free access to recreational facilities across the city. London’s Child and Youth Network, along with partners, developed the program to increase children’s access to physical activity opportunities, which can benefit their overall health and well-being. Program evaluation examines the influence of the pass on children's access to recreational programming and their engagement in physical activity.
For more information on the ACT-i-Pass program, please go to www.playeveryday.ca.