Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services play an important role in encouraging young children to be physically active, healthy and develop well.
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What is Play Active?

Play Active is the only program of its kind in Australia providing evidence-informed guidelines on the amount of physical activity and sedentary time (including screen time) children should do while attending ECEC.

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A tailored physical activity policy for your service

At the heart of Play Active is a service-tailored physical activity policy to help ensure children engage in enough physical activity and energetic play throughout the day, every day while they attend ECEC. The program also provides professional development, resources and support that helps services exceed National Quality Standard 2.1: ‘Each child’s health and physical activity is supported and promoted’.

Play Active supports thousands of children in ECEC services across Australia to move more every day so that all young Australian children can have an active and healthy start to life.

What does Play Active membership involve?

Play Active provides:
  • An easy 5-step process for directors to self-assess your service’s current practices and develop and implement a tailored Play Active physical activity policy that aligns with National Quality Standards and is easy to incorporate into Quality Improvement Plans
  • A quick 3-step process for educators to complete FREE, online professional development
  • Physical activity and energetic play resources, professional development, and support to find more opportunities throughout the day to boost energetic play
Play Active membership is for a service so directors, educators and families all benefit.
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Why have we developed Play Active?

Outside of the home, ECEC services play an important role in supporting young children to be physically active, healthy and developmentally on track.

Aligned with National Quality Standards and Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)

ECEC services need to meet the Australian National Quality Standards | ACECQA – Quality Area 2:

  • Standard 2.1 ‘Each child’s health and physical activity is supported and promoted’ and
  • Element 2.1.3 ‘Healthy eating and physical activity are promoted and appropriate for each child.’

Play Active also aligns with the Early Years Learning Framework which has a strong wellbeing focus, acknowledging that all types of play, including energetic play, are vital for a child’s development and life success.

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Is there a national physical activity policy specific to ECEC?

While there are Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years, there are no guidelines specific to ECEC.

Nutrition, sleep and sun protection policies are required in many state and territory childcare regulations but there is no guidance around how much physical activity, sedentary and screen time children should have while in care.

Find out more about our research

Since 2013, partners from ECEC, government, play, public health and research sectors have worked together to develop Play Active.

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Why is physical activity and energetic play important?

Play Active has been designed with the ECEC sector to help increase the amount of energetic play children do every day in a safe and supported environment.

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What is physical activity, including energetic play?

Physical activity is any bodily movement that needs energy. 

  • Light activity and games
  • Energetic play
  • Spontaneous or unstructured
  • Intentionally planned or structured
  • Indoors
  • Outdoors

Energetic play, which involves children ‘huffing and puffing’, is critical during the early years of life for a child’s health, wellbeing and development.

How active are young children?

Many young Australian children don’t get the recommended three hours of daily physical activity, including 60 minutes of energetic play, needed for their health and development.

Australia has been barely passing with a D- for children’s physical activity levels since 2015.

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The benefits of physical activity and why we need to support children to do more

Physical activity and energetic play provide many benefits for young children including a healthy weight, improved bone health and cardiovascular fitness, and enhanced cognitive, emotional and psychosocial development.

Physical activity and energetic play help children:

  • Build confidence
  • Feel loved, happy and safe
  • Understand more about how the world works
  • Develop social skills, language and communication
  • Learn about caring for others and the environment
  • Develop physical skills.

How to Join

It's quick and easy to join!

Directors become a member in 60 minutes

  • Step 1: Register here and then complete a short self-assessment survey to determine the current physical activity and energetic play practices at your service.
  • Step2: Tailor your Play Active Policy to your service’s needs based on these self-assessment results.
  • Step 3: Complete brief, online professional development involving eight quick videos and a short quiz.
  • Step 4: Pay your 2-year membership fee of $200 to download your tailored Play Active Policy and access member benefits.
  • Step 5: Unlock access to the member benefits and invite your educators to complete free professional development.
Become a member
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Educators complete FREE professional development in 20 minutes

  • Step 1: Register here and complete a short survey about the amount of physical activity provided to children in your care.
  • Step2: Complete brief, online professional development involving eight quick videos and a short quiz and receive a personal certificate on completion (valid for 2 years)
  • Step 3: Add your director’s email to invite your service to become a member
Complete professional development

Our Partners

Play Active has long-standing partnerships across the early childhood, health promotion, play and government sectors, alongside world leading research organisations.

Our Team

Play Active is led by the Child Physical Activity, Health and Development team at the Telethon Kids Institute in collaboration with our partners.

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Telethon Kids Institute

The Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia is based within the Perth Children’s Hospital, and is one of the largest, and most successful medical research institutes in Australia, comprising a dedicated and diverse team with a shared vision to improve the health and wellbeing of children through excellence in research.

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