PE4K CHildcare Health & Wellbeing
Good health and wellbeing are essential to children’s growth, development and learning. PE4K’s Health and Wellbeing Program encourages children to choose healthy foods and to be physically active. Further, it introduces them to the concept that we all need to look after our minds by taking time out to relax and refocus. The Program also raises children’s awareness of items and situations that might place them at risk, and how to manage these.
Nutrition – The Centre provides all food and drink consumed by the children while they are at the Centre so discussions about healthy food choices are a natural progression. Discussions about “Every Day Foods” as opposed to “Sometimes Foods” take place regularly.
The Centre’s play-based program uses its connected indoor and outdoor play areas to encourage children to be physically active throughout the day. In addition, educators engage children in a wide range of physical activities – running, jumping, skipping, climbing, catching, throwing, crawling, riding, balancing – so that the children develop into strong, healthy, confident individuals who will remain active in the years to come. It also includes “cognitive gymnastics” where educators guide children to use movement patterns (such as those used by different animals) that require them to think about which body parts to move and when.
After lunch each day, educators provide children with a quiet time to rest and/or to collect their thoughts after a morning with their friends and educators.
The lights are dimmed, temperature regulated, and soft soothing music played. Progressive relaxation and mindfulness techniques are intentionally taught to the children.
These techniques are known to help children to settle and rest comfortably. They also afford the children who do not sleep the significant physical, emotional and cognitive benefits known to accompany relaxation. Further, the children become aware that relaxation is integral to a healthy lifestyle, and they begin to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
Progressive relaxation is an effective technique they can use throughout their lives.
It is the responsibility of every educator to keep the children in their care safe. It is also our responsibility to gradually empower and educate children to confidently ensure their own safety when the time comes. Our Safety Program introduces topics based on the most common causes of injury to young children in Australia, and includes safety around water, fire, traffic, poisons, electricity and animals. Throughout the year, trusted people in the community such as police, ambulance and fire officers are invited into the Centre to talk to the children. Any program related to Child Protection is delivered to the children by specialists in the area of early childhood, and only after close consultation with parents.
Resources used in the Health and Wellbeing Program include Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood (Australian Government), Munch and Move (NSW Government), Skill to Chill CD and Animal Walk Activity Cards (Dr Brenda Abbey and Tanya Abbey).