Hey KIDDO, improve your move!
Maintaining patterns of regular physical activity and good nutrition are important factors for developing good health in children and developing good habits into adulthood.
Australian guidelines recommend children aged 5-18 years participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. However, in 2008, a Western Australian (WA) Government survey of child and adolescence physical activity and nutrition (CAPANS) identified that less than half met this requirement. It also revealed that children were spending more than the recommended maximum of two hours per day of game-based screen time.
Their evidence-based strategies address two of the CAPANS recommendations:
- Explore and measure the effect of movement based video games on children’s physical activity levels; and
- understand more about physical activity in children and better engage the childcare sector in physical activity opportunities for pre-school aged children.
If you develop skills early, and you enjoy it, you’re more likely to participate in lifelong physical activity.
Assoc. Prof. Michael Rosenberg, UWA
The exercise of exergaming
Their health-related rating system compared active video games based on the level of energy expended, whether the game encouraged the development of movement skills, and whether children were social in a positive or in a negative way when playing.
In excess of 1000 children were recruited through UWA and primary schools to play active video games. Data collected included: heart rates, social engagement data and measurements of movement proficiency.
The team developed software that used this data to determine whether movements were effective and whether the games were designed to have the desired energy expenditure. The data also informed their 2013 study, which showed that playing high-intensity video games stimulated a positive cardiovascular effect.
HomeSPACE to play
Children spend much of their time indoors and sedentary, however little is understood about the home space in encouraging physical activity. In 2014, research undertaken by team member Dr Clover Maitland found that children’s activity inside the home was malleable and guided by the layout of the home, size of outdoor spaces and the perceived function of each room according to the needs of the family.
A limited ability to accurately measure what children were doing and whether they were being active or sedentary led to the development of the HomeSPACE measurement tool. HomeSPACE, and HomeSPACE-II – which was designed for use in two-storey homes, use RFID technology and custom-built software to provide a valid and reliable assessment of home influences on children’s sedentary behaviour and physical activity.
Some day care centres have adopted HomeSPACE to understand the relationship between the indoor and outdoor environments; the equipment that fills the centre and their ideal positioning; and the policies and practices of the centre.
Previously, the team’s research had focussed on the measurement of children’s activity. Their data revealed that children had been declining in their ability to perform fundamental movement skills; the basic building blocks of movement that develop in younger years.
In 2014, the team began developing KIDDO, a program to provide resources and training to children, teachers, coaches and parents in physical activity and fundamental movement skills.
Since 2009, the Australian Government has run the Australian Early Development census (AEDC), which looked at the wellbeing of 5-year-old children around Australia across four domains, including the physical domain. There had been little improvement in the physical domain from 2009 to the most recent survey in 2018. This aligned with the team’s own data and motivated them to use their findings to create real-world impact.
The vision at KIDDO is to have children, ready to move by the start of primary school and moving well and often by the end of primary school.
Assoc. Prof Michael Rosenberg, UWA
Building physical literacy
KIDDO is an evidence-based, University of WA program that offers a range of fee-for-service programs, professional development courses and free take-home resources to educators, coaches and parents to help them develop the movement skills and confidence of 3-8 year olds.
A core component of the KIDDO specialist programs is physical literacy. This involves teaching children the fundamental movement skills, motivation and confidence to be active. Early childhood is a key time to develop physical literacy so that children have the foundational skills and confidence to be active to last them a lifetime.
Fundamental movement skills are part of the Australian Curriculum in primary schools however there is little training available for teachers and many early childhood teachers lack the confidence and knowledge of how to teach these important skills. KIDDO’s packages and programs meet Australian curriculum standards and are available as professional development to provide teachers with the training and resources to ensure they feel confident in delivering the curriculum.
In 2017, with the support of a three year grant from Healthway the team were able to increase the accessibility of KIDDO, by expanding the program to 100 schools and ECEC services in disadvantaged communities and developing an online hub of physical literacy training, resources and programs online. Sport Australia provided further support in 2019 to develop and trial the online resource and training centre with schools.
KIDDO includes the following products:
- Professional Development: Certificate of Physical Literacy, role specific online learning for teachers, educators and coaches
- Tools: valid, online Fundamental Movement Skill assessment and reporting tool, the KIDDO challenge
- Resources: skill information, hundreds of activity ideas, lesson plans, take home resources for parents and a physical literacy library
Teachers, coaches and parents can access all the KIDDO resources and training through a number of different membership packages starting from a free membership.
A key part of the program is to provide continued learning, evaluation and engagement in the program. The KIDDO team regularly communicate with members to provide new resources and further learning opportunities. The team also evaluates school programs and works with schools on improvements to KIDDO.
Our products help parents play a key role in their child’s development, and help teachers and educators inform their teaching programs to show that what they’re doing is effective and see what they need to focus on.
Amanda Derbyshire, UWA
Corporate support for child health
The team have been working with the WA Government and WA Department of Education (WA Education) throughout the development of KIDDO, with the inclusion of WA Education representatives on the original steering committee.
Goodstart Early Learning in WA have also supported the team in developing the program and trialling sessions within their centres. The program has helped upskill educators in their centres to deliver programs that help children develop the skills and confidence to be active as well as inform the planning and set-up of play equipment.
In 2019, Sport Australia approached the team to roll out KIDDO’s physical literacy programs as part of their Sporting Schools Plus program. The program encourages 450 schools in selected local government areas across Australia to access up to $12,500 to develop physical literacy programs or policies in their schools.
Three packages were developed for the Sporting Schools Plus program:
- KIDDO A+ package: Support, training and resources for early childhood educators to develop an environment, and deliver programs, that encourage physical literacy.
- KIDDO e-package: Gives educators the knowledge to develop physical literacy in students aged 3-8 years.
- KIDDO A+ package: Onsite Perth training, assessment and sessions with students conducted by the KIDDO team.
The team have also been able to take KIDDO to eight regional and remote locations in Western Australia with a participation grant from Sport Australia as well as the support of partners the WA Department of Local Government, Culture and Sport Industries (DLGSI), Goodstart Early Learning and Fair Game.
KIDDO was developed to provide the resources and training so educators could provide programs that have really effective outcomes in their environments. Without those partners the program wouldn’t be possible.
Amanda Derbyshire, UWA
The impact of KIDDO
In 2017, research student Ashleigh Hourigan presented findings from a study undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of the KIDDO program at the International Physical Literacy Association Conference in Canada.
The study compared students undertaking the KIDDO program with students undertaking the usual physical education program, over eight weeks. The result showed a significant improvement in both skill development and confidence in the children who participated in KIDDO.
Since 2018, the team have measured the movement skills of over 6000 children across early childhood education, day care and primary schools and have exposed over 10,000 students to the program. In 2019, testing of KIDDO effectiveness in over 400 children, in 41 schools revealed that there was a 61% improvement in over-arm throwing, and a 13% improvement in general movement skills.
365 WA schools are currently registered with KIDDO. The team have also visited over 250 schools and childcare centres where the educators have completed the course and training and are implementing physical literacy into their learning environment, policies and practices.
Feedback from teachers has indicated that over 95% of teachers are confident they will deliver more physical activity as a result of their engagement with KIDDO.
Every school and every teacher and every educator really puts their own mark on the program, so they adapt it and implement it in their own ways. They are doing some really great things with the resources and tools we provide.
Amanda Derbyshire, UWA
In response to covid-19 restrictions, the team launched the free KIDDO At-home Activity Pack to ensure children had an opportunity to keep active. The pack has proven to be popular nationally and a number of educators from around the global have since completed the Certificate in Physical Literacy as well.
With all the thousands of resources from around the world being shared among PE teachers, these Kiddo challenges are the stand out. They’re doing an amazing job for stranded kids in WA and hopefully around the globe.
Ben Vine, Calamvale Community College
Using technology to measure the moves
Initially, KIDDO measured the movement of children through observation of motor development and skill level. This is time consuming and requires a level of expertise that may be limited for educators when carrying out the process in a school setting.
Post-doctoral researcher Brodie Ward has developed KIDDO’s web-based resources including the KIDDO Challenge assessment tool and online training course. The assessment tool provides educators the ability to rapidly and effectively record, store, monitor and automatically produce reports on their children’s Fundamental Movement Skill development using a mobile device, or computer. KIDDO leaders who complete the Certificate of Physical Literacy can access the Kiddo Challenge assessment tool.
Technology provides an opportunity to complement educator skills and allow them to easily monitor and assess their students and inform their teaching.
Brodie Ward, UWA
The team have also worked in collaboration with Associate Professor Hayley Christian as part of the KIDDO program. Professor Christian has been working on a project called PLAYCE, Play Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity and Health, which focusses on encouraging early childcare centres to embed policies and practices that try to increase physical activity within those environments for children.