Issued on behalf of the Southern Investing for Health Partnership
Early Years organisations in the Southern area have taken part in a training programme to help increase play opportunities and promote more physical activity for young children and their families.
The ‘Healthy Steps for Life’ programme, developed by the Southern Investing for Health Partnership (SIHP) and funded by the Public Health Agency, aims to promote healthy lifestyles in early years (0-5 years) and reduce the growing rates of childhood obesity.
The Programme has commissioned the Youth Sport Trust to deliver training on its ‘Start to Play’ programme to organisations whose remit includes the promotion of healthy lifestyles for young children in the Southern area. The training is designed to complement and support the Early Years Curriculum and focuses on issues such as:
• physical development
• personal, social and emotional development
• communication, language and literacy; and
• creative development
Participants from across the Southern area which includes, Armagh, Dungannon, Newry and Mourne and Craigavon and Banbridge who took part in the training received a resource bag containing lots of play equipment, games, activity cards and books aimed at encouraging parents and carers to engage with their children through play.
Orlaith Moley, from the Public Health Agency and Project Manager for ‘Healthy Steps for Life’ explains: “The ‘Healthy Steps for Life’ programme is delighted to provide this training opportunity to enhance knowledge and develop the skills of our early years practitioners who work in the local area. The investments in expertise and play resources will undoubtedly help to promote the health benefits of active play and healthy lifestyles for young children and their families.”
Margaret Fullerton, Trainer with the Youth Sport Trust said: “Participants from a wide range of Early Years settings attended the training and were able to share with each other how the ‘Start to Play’ programme can play an important part in supporting the holistic development of pre-school children through physical play in a range of different settings. The training received will give them the confidence to use the ‘Start to Play’ resource to support others working with young children and to develop positive healthy habits for life through a fun and learning environment.”
Ruth Briggs, Senior Co-ordinator with Home-Start in Armagh who took part in the training added: “The training was extremely good, highlighting for me the need for families with young children to get involved in more physical play. The ideas generated through the ‘Start to Play’ programme were terrific in making us all think imaginatively as to how play can be extended and varied through the use of materials, books, space and numbers of people. The materials provided are excellent, a truly great resource that will be used to generate lots of play activities whilst getting more children and their parents involved in imaginative physical activities.”
Notes to the editor
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