Childminders from the Armagh area have attended training highlighting the importance of promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles for the under 5s.
The purpose of the training was to raise awareness of the ‘Healthy Steps for Life’ programme, developed by the Southern Investing for Health Partnership (SIHP) and funded by the Public Health Agency. The programme is designed to develop childminders’ knowledge and practical skills in encouraging greater physical activity among young children.
Orlaith Moley, Project Manager for ‘Healthy Steps for Life’ explains: “The foundations for a healthy life are heavily influenced by what happens in the first few years. This new initiative aims to encourage a range of healthy habits at a young age, including the importance of physical play and movement.”
The training sessions were delivered by NICMA - the Childminding Association. Childminders attending the training sessions were given ‘Start to Play’ resources emphasising the importance of participation and physical play and how to increase children’s activity while at home.
Susan Anderson, Training and Quality Co-ordinator with NICMA said: “The ‘Start to Play’ resources help to promote children’s lifelong participation in physical activity within the context of a home-based setting. By attending the training, childminders learn about the different aspects of child development and the need to provide children with a wide range of physical play opportunities through equipment and storybooks. The aim is to involve, motivate and support children during physical activity in order for them to concentrate and learn effectively but with an emphasis on participation and enjoyment.”
Attending the training in Mullinure Hospital, Armagh local childminder, Jacqueline Preshur said: “I found the ‘Start to Play’ training to be enjoyable. I learnt lots of different activities to play with the children, such as role play and how to use the equipment in a variety of different ways.”
Childminder, Betty Stratton added: “A very enjoyable night. I found the training course very useful and informative. I look forward to using the resources I received with all my children as they enjoy role play.”
Orlaith concluded: “’Healthy Steps for Life’ is aimed at people who support pre-school children, including parents and carers, grandparents, parent and toddler groups, childminders, childcare providers, pre-school play groups and community groups.”
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