Deakin Alumni Webinar: Getting Children moving for Healthy Development and Wellbeing


– [Farisha] Hi, everyone,
and welcome to the Deakin Alumni and Deakin Child Study Centre webinar
with Dr. Nicole Papadopoulos. My name is Farisha Rahman from
the Central Alumni Relations Team. Today, we’re broadcasting from the
Burwood Campus. And our webinar topic today is “Getting Children Moving for
Healthy Development and Wellbeing: The Australian Joy of Moving Program”
presented by Dr. Nicole Papadopoulos. Dr. Nicole Papadopoulos is a clinical
psychologist and lead senior research fellow on the Australian Joy of Moving
Program. Nicole completed her Ph.D. in 2003, pioneering work that explored the
impact of physical activity on mental health outcomes for children with
neurodevelopmental disorders. And she is an emerging leader in the sleep
and motor research industry. Clinically, Nicole specializes in
neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and ADHD. And she’s passionate
about helping children to reach their full potential using evidence-based
interventions. Thank you so much for joining us today, Nicole.
I’m going to pass over to you now to begin our webinar session today. – [Dr. Papadopoulos] Thanks, Farisha,
and good afternoon, everybody. First, I’d like to thank our research
partners, School Sports Victoria and Professor Caterina Pesce
from the University of Foro, who have generously supported
this project and are pivotal to the research that I’m going to be talking
about here today. I’d also like to say thank you to our philanthropic donors,
the Ferrero Group Australia, as part of its Kinder+Sport pillar
of their corporate social responsibility, who generously provided funding for the
research project. And I wanted to clear that the Ferrero Group Australia
have no role in this research, including the collection, analysis,
and interpretation of the data, and running off of the research. So,
today, what I want to do is give a brief overview of the Deakin Child Study Centre,
and the types of research that we invest in and that’s being conducted in our
center, talk a little bit about the importance of movement for child
development, and then driving to the International Joy of Moving methodology,
as well as some of the programs that are out there promoting movement in primary
schools, and then, end with the Australian Joy of Moving Program. I’ll talk to you
a little bit about what we’re developing here at Deakin and what we’re piloting
and pioneering in this space. So, the Deakin Child Study
Centre was established in 2013, and has a focus on understanding child
development and helping children to reach their full potential.
We are a multidisciplinary center. And we bring together expertise from
the disciplines of neuroscience, education, physiotherapy,
and information technology all within the hub of the school psychology here at
Burwood. We have strong collaborations with other universities in Australia such
as Melvin Uni, Charles Darwin University in the northern territory,
and the University of Sydney, as well as international links in the U.S.
and India. We also have strong links with research institutes such as the
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and leading hospitals such as
the World Children’s Hospital. The Deakin Child Study Centre
has three arms. Our first pillar is around neuroscience and is focused on
research to characterize or understand some of the difficulties that children
with neurodevelopmental disorders experience. Our second
pillar is around treatment of common problems children may
encounter such as sleep problems or anxiety disorders. The third pillar is
around our partnerships with industry to work with children in the community and
educational settings as well as sporting environments to improve child wellbeing.
We have strong partnerships with peak bodies such as the IFL
Department of Education, School Sports Victoria,
which enable us to develop resources for the communities at the grassroots. So,
the Deakin Child Study Centre research that we’re conducting is based on a few
guiding principles. The first is evidence-based. So, all of the
resources that we developed are backed by evidence and research,
and are evaluated using Gold Standard research methodology.
We take a strengths-based approach in achieving our vision to transform the
lives of children and help them to reach their full potential. Most of the
research has been conducted over the past decade or so,
has taken the deficit approach when researching children, any particular
children who experienced developmental challenges or disabilities.
And treatments or interventions have been really focused on decreasing the negative
symptoms that these children may experience. The programs that we’re
developing here at the Deakin Child Study Centre are based on a positive youth
development theory where children are seen as resources to be developed
and not problems to be fixed. So the programs that we develop are
therefore focused on unique strengths of each child and creating resilience.
Our research is also focused on real inclusion. So we ensure that every
program we develop is inclusive of all children, any particular
[inaudible] Australian children who experience a developmental
challenge. Lastly, our research is based on strengthening the capacity of
communities, whether it be the school community or the sporting community,
to ensure that the research makes a real difference on the ground to transform
the lives of children. So now, I want to shift to talk a little bit about
the importance of movement and why, as psychologists, we are so interested
in movement, and how this can help with our wellbeing. So, movement
occurs in the first year of life, before we learn to speak or communicate
meaningfully. It allows us to explore the world from a young age and can be
a way that we express ourselves. As we grow and learn through movement in
early childhood, we learn the rituals and expectations of our culture through
movement. And this is particularly evident in some populations such as the indigenous
community. Brain Science now recognizes that movement is fundamental to
psychological and social development, structuring the first sense of self,
and enabling learning about the world. Movement also provides the opportunity for
children to develop motor skills or motor competence, which has been found to
play a role in the psychological and social functioning. And I want to talk a
little bit now about the overlapping brain circuitry for movements as well as social,
emotional or psychological functioning. So, since the beginning of my research
career, roughly 10 years ago, I have been interested in movement and the
impact of movement on children’s social, emotional, and behavioural development.
My Ph.D. was focused on understanding the neural underpinnings of children with
neurodevelopmental disorders. For example, children who have autism or attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, and how their motor problems were
related to the attentional, social, and emotional difficulties that these
children commonly experience. What was fascinating was the
interrelationship between all of these and how movement could predict what was
associated with the severity of psychopathology. So children who had
more motor problems also had more social difficulties. Perhaps
because they weren’t engaging in physical activity so they
weren’t practicing their motor skills. All the social problems were
keeping them away from engaging. And children with ADHD who also had motor
problems went on to have difficulties with sustaining attention,
which is a core deficit of ADHD. So what came out of these research studies
was the importance of movement for children’s development and the
downstream effects this may have on children’s wellbeing.
Being the decoder of the brain, there was a series of studies that
documented the brain circuitry and brain regions such as the cerebellum,
and have deficits to a common area of the brain or circuitry was found to underlie
a cluster of different symptoms or psychopathologies such as motor
problems, emotional problems, or attentional problems.
What also became evident is that development in movement or focus on
movement for children could also lead to downstream positive effects for
children, and may have the potential to increase children’s social, emotional,
attentional, academic development or aspects of the whole child. So, fast forward to now, to more recent
research, we’re seeing the development of interventions focused on promoting
movement that have been shown to impact aspects of the whole child including
their physical, motor, or cognitive development.
And I’d like to now introduce the Joy of Moving philosophy and methodology
that was developed by the Kinder+Sports team in collaboration with
Professor Caterina Pesce at the University of Foro.
So the Joy of Moving methodology is an original and innovative methodology
that is the result of a three-year research project, which encourage movement
in children in order to promote and inspire positive lifestyle habits,
which hopefully will last into adulthood. The educational model emphasizes the
impact of physical activity on the whole child. And you can see from the
[inaudible] on the slide that all of these facets are either
overlapping or interrelated in some shape or form. The Joy of
Moving Program was developed in Italy for the Italian curriculum and
was designed as an enriched school physical activity program, and
consisted of four teaching modules, lasting six weeks, and resulting in a
total of 24 intervention sessions. So children engaged in a series of
carefully designed games and modules. And the greatest innovation of the
Joy of Moving method is the development and the involvement of children in
a fun, non-competitive approach to physical activity, and offering
children endless variations of play to develop abilities of the whole
child. The games are varied, they’re made novel, and there’s an
increase in the challenge point reach so that the games remain
stimulating, fun, and enjoyable. So an outcome of the method
of the Joy of Moving methodology was the manual, which
is divided into two parts. The first explains the theory and
conceptual framework of the method, and the second includes 80 cards covering
different games, categorized by specific age groups. And there are four different
domains, the physical fitness domain, the motor coordination domain,
the creativity and cognitive function domain, and the life skills
domain. And an online version was also put together. So, short videos of how to
administer these movement tasks are available for teachers to access.
And this can be for P.E. teachers and also generalist teachers.
So there’s a really nice, user-friendly website that was a
translation of component from the original Joy of Moving Program. So I just
want to touch on some of the learnings of Professor Caterina Pesce’s
work. And the first is that there is an emphasis on children’s right to play
and be physically active, and a holistic perspective on healthy
personal development. And this fits very nicely with the
strengths-based approach that our research is focused on here at the Deakin Child
Study Centre. It was also said that physical activity has wider benefits than
just fixing obesity rates and that this framing is really restrictive and
negatively framed. So, thinking about physical activity and
promoting physical activity for holistic development is the way to go and not so
fixated on reducing obesity levels or just increasing physical activity for the sake
of being active. Caterina Pesce also emphasized that there is a need for
research to translate some of the evidence-based results that we’re seeing
when we look at the interrelationships between physical activity or movement
and emotional, psychological, and cognitive improvements to
child-specific health promotion practice. So again, this aligns very nicely with the
Deakin Child Study guiding principles, for our research to be active in the
community and translated so that kids are engaging in these programs and
are reaping the benefits of it. So going from what we are seeing, sort of,
in the research world or in the lab to something that can make a difference in
the community. So there’s a real shift in focus, if you like,
with the program and the original methodology,
Joy of Moving methodology, to focus on coming up with movement
tasks and games that are novel. Diversity is really expressed. So,
making sure that kids have a range of different activities that they can
engage in, thinking about effort and helping kids stimulating and
successfulness has been key ingredients for promoting the brain plasticity and the
cognitive development that we are seeing through the physical activity.
There’s also a need for physical activity promotion to look more…should look at
more than just how much physical activity to a shift to what kind of physical
activity kids are engaging in. And we want children to go beyond simply
moving to moving with thought and understanding and realizing why movement
is important for us. And as I said, executive function, which is a fancy way
of talking about thinking and our cognitive processing skills,
has been found to be improved by a combination of physical, emotional,
and social challenges. And this is a bit of a paradigm shift,
if you like, from a lot of the mainstream thinking around
academic performance being linked to the amount of hours that we
study and that we sit at the desk. So, it’s really thinking about how all
these little different domains come together and then coming to play to
improve academic outcomes. And some schools have grasped
on to these better than others. So, from Italy to Australia, we have
partnered with Professor Caterina Pesce and thought about how we can bring
this Joy of Moving methodology here to Australia, and starting with Victoria.
There is definitely a clear need to move children in Australia and to develop
positive lifestyle habits, especially in today’s world where children
are less active and more sedentary. So, I just want to talk a little bit about
the national guidelines. So, the Australian National Guidelines
recommend 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and this should
incorporate an array of activities. So it’s not only your moderate to vigorous
physical activity, but it also includes your light or leisurely aerobic tasks and
strengths-based activities, if you like. So your resistance training.
It’s also recommended that we try and reduce the sedentary behaviours or
break up the seating time for kids. If we have a look at some of the programs
out there promoting physical activity, there seems to be a missed opportunity on
getting children moving for healthy development and wellbeing with most of the
programs focused on the physical aspects of movement. And we are definitely not
seeing that children are meeting the recommended guidelines, especially
children who experienced developmental challenges or disabilities with research
showing that they’re four and a half times more inactive than their typical
developing peers. And those statistics are huge. What I want to do now is just
talk a little bit about some anecdotal evidence that I see in the clinic.
So being a clinical psychologist, I also work clinically with children
who experience emotional and behavioral problems. And I’m
actually astounded by how many families and children that I see don’t
realize the importance of the mind-body connection or the benefits of movement
for their emotional wellbeing. Clinically, we know that when we’re
exercising, the physiology of the brain changes. There’s a release of
neurochemicals, neurotransmitters, and hormones of all sorts, and
this has a profound effect on the way that we feel. So the first thing I
prescribe when I see my client has regular physical activity, and I focus on any
movement. Even a regular, gentle, leisurely walk can be effective for our
mental health. But as I said, I’m confronted, time and time again,
with patients who not only don’t exercise but, most importantly,
are not educated as to the reasons why physical activity is important for their
mental health. So there’s a clear need for this public health message to be
emphasized and for the promotion of the importance of movement for wellbeing at a
young age. And it’s really important to take a preventative approach because
by the time families get into the clinic, they’re already experiencing significant
emotional and behavioural disturbances keeping them from living their lives to
their full potential. And so there are also lots of children out there who, if we
like, are experiencing some clinical emotional and behavioural disturbances that
get missed. So, I want to share some stats around the prevalence of mental illness.
By 2020, mental illness will account for 15% of burden of disease globally,
identifying it as a major public health concern. One in seven children and
adolescents aged 4 to 17 years have suffered a mental health disorder,
and this is equivalent to approximately 560,000 Australian children and
adolescents. So these figures are significant. So, schools,
and particularly in the classroom, have been targeted as the ideal setting to
deliver health promotion and interventions given the potential reach of children,
and children spend the majority of their time at school. In line with this,
there’s been a plethora of primary school physical activity interventions such as
the Take 10 program, Active Classrooms, and Transform Us typically aimed at
increasing children’s time spent doing moderate to vigorous physical activity or
decreasing sedentary behaviour or sitting time. Likewise, mental
health interventions have been prevalent among schools targeting the
wellbeing of students such as the Mindfulness in Schools program,
Bite Back, and Family Wellbeing. Whilst both these strings of
interventions are equally important, very few interventions emphasize the
importance of a physical activity for psychological wellbeing or
emphasize this mind-body connection. And that’s something unique that we hope
to bring to the Joy of Moving methodology that originated in Italy. So,
in April of this year, we held an advisory board to come together
with key experts from the fields of psychology, education,
physical education, principals and teachers of mainstream and special
schools to seek expert advice in developing the Australian Joy of Moving
Program, to promote movement and healthy development in primary school aged
children here in Victoria, and in particular, to contextualize the
methodology of the original methodology of the Joy of Moving Program
for the Victorian curriculum. So, the advice we got was that the program
needed to be designed and delivered by the classroom teachers. So, in
contrast to the original program that was delivered in Italy by P.E. teachers,
the advice we’re given were P.E. teachers are already really busy trying to
cram in their curriculum into the one hour of P.E. that primary school aged
children do in a week. And so, it’s the classroom teacher’s
responsibility also to be thinking about how they can incorporate physical
activity in the form of active breaks during the school day. The intervention,
we needed to think about it being brief or no longer than 10 minutes,
because the curriculum’s crowded for all teachers, including the classroom
teacher. In order to ensure that it was in line with the Victorian curriculum
and the national priority targets of physical activity, and also happy,
healthy, and resilient kids. We needed to think about sustainability
and delivery of the program using an online platform. We needed to take a
whole school approach because it’s all primary school aged children,
from prep all the way up to grade six. We know that when children
get to, roughly, grade three, this is where we start to see a bit of a
drop off of physical activity, but instilling these positive habits right
from a young age and reinforcing them throughout primary school is imperative to
see lifelong change and the development of positive, healthy lifestyles.
Flexibility was a really big key point in the program. We needed to ensure that
the program could be tailored to cater for different schools, classrooms,
and teachers. And we needed to allow that flexibility because some teachers,
most naturally, will incorporate physical activity into the school classroom day,
other teachers may be more hesitant, and there could be differences in skill
sets or their preference towards different activities and their confidence in being
able to administer different activities throughout the school day.
And we know that teachers are the key gatekeepers for the promotion
of the programs in schools. So, the Australian Joy of Moving Program
brings together the learnings and methodology from the original
Joy of Moving Program, and extends this to have a specific emphasis
on children realizing the mind-body connection or the psychological aspects of
moving. And this extends the original Joy of Moving methodology that focused on
the life skills domain as well as our focus on piloting the program
in special schools in Victoria, where there’s a real gap in interventions
targeting movement for children with special needs in the classroom.
So these are the two points where we’re extending some of the work that
was originally done in Italy, and something that we hope that we
can give back to the overall Joy of Moving Program. So when we
presented this to our advisory board, we had some really, really positive
remarks and responses at the beginning. And a lot of it, you will see the quotes
in the slides, I’m not going to read them out, but they just talk to the
importance of movement and how that can just be so fun for children and how
teachers see that fitting in with their philosophy of the importance of movement.
We also presented our program to the School Sports Victoria advisory board,
whose key KPI is promoting movement in primary schools. And they all were
very encouraging of the program, and especially at sitting at the classroom
teachers. So it’s not a replacement of physical activity or motor skill
development, but it’s an addition to get kids active for the holistic
wellness benefits of movement. So now, we’re up to the Australian Joy
of Moving Program and what it is. So, based on all of that information,
the Australian Joy of Moving Program is a classroom-based psycho-educational
program that promotes the connection between moving, health,
and wellbeing through experiential learning using carefully designed movement
tasks. And I just want to emphasize what I mean by experiential learning.
So it’s one thing to learn about something and to be given some education about it,
and it’s another thing to put something into practice and really reap the rewards
of it and start to realize what it’s doing for your health and wellbeing. And so,
we’ve ensured that we are providing opportunities through this program for
children to experience some of that. So what is it all about?
The aim is to increase children’s motivation to be active by helping them to
realize the mental health benefits of movement. There are two core principles
or ideologies that are ingrained throughout the program.
The first one is any movement is good movement. And this is really
important because we’re not talking about the elite athlete. We’re
talking about incorporating simple movements and positive lifestyle habits.
The second ideology is around moving helping us to feel good.
So it’s about making that mind-body connection link, and thinking about when
we experience different emotions that how movement can help us
to get out of that state and what it does to our brain and our body in
terms of that physiology. As I said, it’s based on the International Joy of
Moving Program, and we’re ensuring that it’s inclusive of all children
irrespective of their fitness ability. So, the two core ideologies,
teachers are presented with four different moving categories to give teachers and
children variety as to the types of movement task that they can
incorporate. And some of the preliminary feedback that we’re getting is the variety
and the diversity is something that’s really key in keeping kids engaged and
enjoyment, and for them to keep enjoying the program as it goes along.
And it also gives teachers just some examples that they can fall back on.
The second ideology is the program focus on children making the connection between
moving and feeling, and we call it the four Cs, so feeling cheerful,
connected to others, confident, and calm. And so, they’re able to make this
connection with the different aspects of their wellbeing and different emotions
that they might commonly experience at that age. So, the program is
implemented using 10-minute activity breaks in the classroom. And
teachers are encouraged to administer the breaks for a minimum of four times a
week for the duration of eight weeks of a school term. And there are two
components to the break. The first is a psychoeducational component where the
children are presented with either a storybook, if they’re in prep to grade
two, or an animation if they’re in grades three to six, that talks about the
mind-body connection and gives them a little bit of the information to try and
connect the dots between these two. We have to ensure that what we were
designing was developmentally appropriate. And so, the storybooks are more
appropriate for the younger kids and the animations are being designed for
the older primary school levels. Then, teachers are asked to administer an
eight-minute movement activity. And they can choose which activity they
would like to administer with their class. And so, you know, there may be times when
the class is really rowdy and a calming activity or [inaudible] activity is more appropriate. Or they may be other
times when they want to stimulate the kids with something a little bit more
root-based or cheerful or more taxing could be administered. So,
we’re leaving that flexibility to the teachers to ensure that we’re, you know,
in harmony with what they’re trying to achieve on a school day as opposed to
getting the kids wrapped up when they need them to be focused. We’ve
also provided teachers with blank activity cards so that they can incorporate
some of their own activities that they’ve come up with as well as ensuring
that we have student voice. So, this was brought up as one of the key
KPIs for primary school teachers to ensure that students had some autonomy,
they were contributing to the program, and making it their own. And
everyone’s going to be interpreting it differently, and that’s okay. We’re
allowing that flexibility, as long as it’s within the structure of the program. And
particularly for older children, we want to encourage this autonomy in the
movements that they choose to do. So, we’ve also, in the
manual for teachers, included some inclusive tips.
Most teachers are really good at doing this, but we just want to
ensure, and this was taken from our All Play website, that they’re mindful
when they’re doing physical activity with the class that, you know,
they can change the activity, they can allow children to move in their
own way. And I just want to touch a little bit on attitude and how this is so pivotal
to how the class is going to react, how the teacher is going to model
the behaviour, model the importance of physical activity, make it
fun for the kids so that they really want to continue to do that and
what we’ve found that when we’re done spot checks with them different classroom
teachers that the way that the teacher presents the task and their enthusiasm and
motivation is really, really important. And we’re measuring this along with other
aspects of the program because we know that it’s one of the key mediating
variables when it comes to the successfulness of primary school programs.
And also, just for teachers to remember that they can have a backup activity if
they try something and it’s too demanding or the class don’t react in a way that
they thought that they would. So now, I’m going to move to the second gap
in the literature that we hope to fill, and that’s the focus on children with
special needs. So, the Deakin Child Study Centre has extensive research track record
in working with children with special needs or children with neurodevelopmental
disorders. And it’s really important that whatever we develop is translatable not
only to the mainstream school setting but also to the special setting. So, 7%
of Australian children aged 0 to 17 years have a disability. And that equates to
approximately 11,265 students in Victoria who attend a special school.
Approximately, 69% of them will have profound difficulties, and it’s
common for them to experience [inaudible] associated with
more than just one disability. So, with psychological comorbidities
being the most common for this, most vulnerable for children.
So we took a little look at the literature to try and understand what active breaks
or physical activity health promotion programs were out there in the special
school setting. And it’s evident that there’s being very little done in this
space. There are a number of classroom breaks such as Take 10 rolled out
in mainstream schools, however, there are really fewer programs
rolled out the special schools. And this highlights a significant gap that
could make a really significant contribution to the health and development
of children with special needs. If you have a look at the three studies,
only one had a substantial sample size of 100, and the other 2 were really small
studies. And this is a small, sort of, this is definitely a small group of
studies to be done in this space. So, we want to make sure that we grow
there and that whatever we develop can be rolled out to kids with special
needs. And more importantly, that we evaluate this. So this
research will evaluate these psychological-based active breaks in
special school classrooms, and it will, for the first time, conduct a pilot trial
of the Australian Joy of Moving Program in special schools. So, we’ve propose an
in-depth analysis of the impact of the program in developing
aspects of the whole child for children with special needs. We’ll be conducting a
series of pre-assessments before the rollout of the program, which will
be approximately four to six weeks before the term starts. We
will do a battery of different measures to look at aspects of the whole child.
We will then administer the intervention to three specialized schools, and
then do a post-evaluation four to six weeks after to evaluate any impact of the
program on different aspects of the child. The children who will be engaged in the
program will be primary school aged. And we’ll be asking both parents as well
as doing some objective assessments based on the child as well. And so,
this methodology is a little bit more in depth than what we’re doing a lot to
touch, if you like, to have analysis in the mainstream setting.
But we really want to get into understanding some of the mechanisms
for these children, understanding some of the changes and differences that we can
make by implementing this program, and really contributing to the scans
which are out there in the space of physical activity programs in special
schools. So, we’re going to be using a variety of measures,
and we’ve thought about trying to harmonize these measures,
as best we can, with the International Joy of Moving Program. So,
we’re going to be looking at motor proficiency, which is
assessed using the movement assessment battery for children,
which is a standardized assessment battery looking at finding gross motor
performance, putting pegs into a pegboard, board skills, balance. We’re
also interested in preferences for physical activity and trying to change
children’s attitudes or preference to want to be engaged in physical activity.
Enjoyment is something that we really want to tap into. So, the Joy of Moving
methodology and program really emphasizes the joy of moving. And so we want to
ensure that we’re getting kids engaged in fun tasks and they are really enjoying
doing physical activity so they’ll be more likely to want to do it in the future.
And also, looking at if there’s any difference in children’s physical activity
participation not only within school but outside of school. So asking
parents to comment on that. So, this is just an overview of our
research protocol, if you like, and it can be broken down into six
stages. The first stage of our program was around understanding some of the
barriers of facilitators to promoting engagement and participation of the
Joy of Moving Program in Australian primary schools. And we held out advisory
board, and also had a look at some of the literature out there for other programs to
think about how we could position it and contextualize the Joy of Moving
methodology and philosophy for the Victorian curriculum. We then
got on to develop the program, which I spoke about before.
And in term three of this year, we started our pilot of the programs. So
we’ve conducted our pre-assessment and rolled out the program to two mainstream
primary schools, we’ve also had two controlled primary schools. And
we are waiting our post-intervention surveys which are actually out there now
for the next four to six weeks over the school holidays. And then based on these
and going forward, we’re going to be rolling out the program to the remaining
of our mainstream schools and conducting an evaluation of the effectiveness of the
program using a framework that looks at reach, how it was implemented,
how teachers adopted it, the maintenance of the program,
and also conducting that in-depth evaluation of the program in special
schools using a more objective measures, pre and post, to try and catch up some of
the change and some of the mediating or moderating variables that might contribute
to changes in attitudes and physical activity for kids with special needs.
We have partnered with School Sports Victoria, and they’ve been very
supportive of the research and have really facilitated our engagement with schools
including the Principal Association, which is vital for this project. And to
date, we haven’t had too many difficulties in trying to recruit schools,
because it’s something that they really want to include. And
because it’s short and brief and they can see value, we’ve had some really
positive feedback, which is great. So, we’re 15 months into the project and
we’ve recruited 4 schools into our pilot and 75 teachers. We’ve reached 1,678
families, and 971 students are engaged in the Joy of Moving Program.
We hope to recruit 40 schools overall. So, 6 special schools and 34 mainstream
schools. And that’s across the metropolitan and regional areas.
So we’re still currently recruiting, so if there’s anyone on the line who’s a
teacher or a principal and who wants to become involved in the program,
please contact us. We would be happy to include you in going forward. So,
lastly, I just want to talk about where to next. So, the project will end
in June 2021, and after that, we’re hoping to have a national rollout.
So, this pilot is just in Victoria, but we hope to be able to translate it to
the other states within Australia. And also share some of our learnings back
with the International Joy of Moving Program and our collaborators back in
Italy so that we can really exchange some of the learnings and think about how
we can both share from each other’s expertise. But ultimately, we
want to be able to provide teachers and schools with evidence-based materials to
promote movement and for this program to be the go-to program when thinking
about developing aspects of the whole child free movement. So, that’s all for me. – Thank you so much.
And what a great presentation. It sounds like a really,
really good program. So it’s now time for our question
session with our audience today. So, I’ll leave a few minutes for you to
type in your questions now. So, we’ve got our first question come
through already from Rachel. How do we go about presenting this program
to teachers at a professional development session we’re running next
year in the Geelong region? – Oh, that sounds amazing. So,
we can provide you with some material if you like, advertising material to talk
about the program. But also, get in touch with us because we might be
able to come down to the professional development seminar and do a short
presentation to try and get teachers and principals engaged. So,
that’s a great question and thanks for the support. – Fantastic. Okay, next question.
Is this available to support children in early childhood programs? – So, I’m guessing that’s for like
pre-primary and kindergarten. At the moment, we are focused
just in the primary school setting. Again, just trying to extend the work that
was done with the original Joy of Moving Program over in Italy, and
wanting to [inaudible] replicate it here in Australia. But going forward,
that’s definitely a key area that we can go into and definitely
hope to in the future. – Great. Next question from Kimberly.
Do you have any good resources for families about the positive
impacts of movement for children? – It’s an interesting question because
a lot of the work, as I said, has been done in, I guess,
the more research capacity and a lot of the key findings are in the journals if
you like, and it’s not until we get these programs out there and evaluated and
available that we can really provide some of these key resources for the community.
If you get in contact with me, I might be able to sort of fish out some specific
resources after I have a quick look. – Sure. Thank you, Nicole.
Our next question from Kelly. How are you measuring the
mental health of children? – Yes. So we’re using a commonly used
measure called the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
And that looks at student wellbeing, and also breaks it down into five
subscales. So, we’re looking at internalizing or externalizing
disorders per social behaviour and social functioning of kids’ wellbeing
and mental wellbeing and psychological functioning are really broad
concepts, and we’re operationalizing these using Gold Standard Measures that
have been used to tap into wellbeing for primary school aged
kids here in Australia. – Thank you. Our next question from
Rebecca. Great presentation and thank you so much for sharing. With
respect to the national rollout, do you feel that the timeline may be a bit
too lengthy? How do you see the further research between now and then, and
whether that would require incorporation? – Yes. That’s a great question. So
it is a couple of years away before we get our pilot together
when we think about rolling it out internationally.
But as with any research, we will be constantly going back to the
literature, ensuring that we update our resources and our top of the evidence so
that anything that we provide going forward is at the cutting edge and it
keeps up with what’s happening. But as with any research, it
takes time to get from that idea stage and from the writing of a grant or an idea
or a proposal to the testing and then to the evaluation and then
to the translation. – Sure. Thank you. And Rebecca’s got a
follow-up question. Do you see this is being leveraged outside the school
settings at all? For example, private providers, before
and after school care. – Yes. So, definitely, a lot of
the learnings that the children can take and the teachers are sort of
implementing in the classroom are generalizable outside of the classroom.
And for the kids with special needs, we were doing a deeper dive analysis.
We are asking about parents. We are asking the parents about what
activities the children are doing outside of school and if their attitudes
towards physical activity and then wanting to engage in a local sporting club or
community has changed after being involved in the program. – Thank you. Sure, thank you.
Our next question from Judith. Thanks for your presentation.
Just wondering if or how you’ve incorporated unstructured free
play and the role of free play in children’s development. – We definitely encourage.
We encourage the free play, but the program is structured just in
terms of for research purposes and for evaluation. So it is structured if you
like deliberate play based on the games and the activities that we provide to
teachers. But any movement is good movement. So if teachers are
promoting play at recess or at lunch time, and kids are getting active,
that is still a really good translational outcome and we
hope that it permeates to a whole school approach and not
just within class time. – Thank you. All right then,
I think we’ll wrap up the webinar session today. A big thank you to our
presenter today, Dr. Nicole Papadopoulos, for such a great presentation.
And a very big thank you for our audience today for tuning in,
and your great questions today. Feel free to join us on social media where
you can find information about more webinars and alumni resources.
And if you would like to get in contact with Nicole, her email address is
displayed on the screen. So, feel free to drop her an email.
Remember, you can submit feedback to us at [email protected]
And a recording of this presentation will be available on our website in the next
few weeks. Have a great day, everyone, and thanks for tuning in. Goodbye.

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