Background/Why is This Important
Physical activity and healthy eating in the early years (0-5 years old) are important for healthy child development and for setting the stage for lifelong healthy behaviours. Daycares, preschools and other early years settings can provide environments that support healthy living for children and families. The Healthy Families BC Policy Framework and the BC Physical Activity Strategy both identify the early years as a key area of focus for improving healthy eating/food literacy and physical activity/physical literacy among BC families.
What Actions Have Already Been Taken
"Appetite to Play" was developed as a province-wide approach to support providers in promoting and encouraging healthy eating and physical activity within early years settings (daycare centres, family-based daycares, preschools, parent participation programs, or after school daycares). Child Health BC is leading the implementation of the Appetite to Play initiative across BC in partnership with Sport for Life Society, Childhood Obesity Foundation, BC Recreation and Parks Association and the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. The initiative was initially funded by the Ministry of Health through the BC Alliance for Healthy Living, and since April 1, 2019, Appetite to Play transitioned into a sustainable cost-recovery model.
Key implementation supports include:
- An interactive Appetite to Play website featuring healthy eating and physical activity recommended practices for providers, such as self-assessment and planning tools, tips/ideas, recipes, games and activities.
- Training initiatives for early years providers to enhance their knowledge, skills and confidence in providing environments that support healthy eating and physical activity, using multiple modalities.
Where Are We Now?
- The Appetite to Play website was launched in September 2017. In April 2018, a healthy eating e-learning module and a physical literacy e-learning module were added to the website. The online resource continues to be updated on a weekly basis with new activities, games, recipes and tips for early years providers to promote healthy eating and physical activity in their settings.
- Regional training and in-person workshops began September 2017. The aim is to train 70 regional trainers across BC. By the end of March 2019, a total of 88 regional trainers were trained across BC, and in turn, they delivered 195 local in-person workshops across the province to a total of 2,328 early years providers. In-person workshops continue to be delivered across the province.
- In order to increase reach across the province, Appetite to Play also offers online workshops to early years providers. Over 200 early years providers have been trained in the Appetite to Play workshop through this training modality.
- Marketing and communications activities are include outreach via BC health authorities and provincial early years organizations/groups, as well as on social media (Twitter , Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.)
- We are currently working on a new training module for early years providers that focuses on outside play and risky play in collaboration with Dr. Mariana Brussoni ( January 2021).