UBC Graduate Research

Improving physical activity levels of children in childcare during extreme winter weather Ayres, Laura Evelyn


In this graduating capstone project, I explore the issues that affect Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) abilities to meet the minimum government recommendations for physical activity each day for the children in their care. In northern Manitoba and other areas of Canada particularly north of the 53rd parallel, children may be unable to go outdoors to play for extended periods of time due to inclement winter weather. Weather, space, and equipment are explored as important aspects as to why ECEs are unable to facilitate children’s physical activities at appropriate levels throughout the day. In this project, I examine the current lack of physical activity and physical literacy provided for children in some child care facilities. Sociocultural theory, social learning theory, and physical literacy theory provide the theoretical framework for this work. Research studies from around the world are examined in the literature review that explores the various barriers ECEs encounter when attempting to provide physical activity to children throughout the day. In connecting the theory to practice, I developed a workshop for ECEs with small classroom spaces that offers suggestions for ways to improve the physical activity and physical literacy levels of the child in their care. From the literature review and my connection to practice, I concluded that the challenge of providing physical activity for children is not just about physical space, but also pertains to the education and creativity of the ECEs charged with the care of children. I recommend that our youngest children also deserve and require a daily space for their healthy growth and development. After all, public schools have access to gymnasiums for health and adult in our communities do too.

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