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Parent–teacher collaboration is needed to enhance preschoolers’ physical activity: What do we do now?


Preschool settings play a significant role in promoting physical activity for children under five years. Most of the time, however, is sedentary (50–94%) with only a small percentage devoted to light (5–27%) or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (1–17%). While the experiences children have during childcare hours can impact their physical activity, educators are not the only movement influencers in preschoolers lives. Aside from school, children spend time with family members who develop lifestyle habits and serve as role models for physical activity. However, caretakers hold limited knowledge regarding physical activity recommendations for young children, creating a need for greater teacher-parent collaboration. SHAPE America’s Active Start Guidelines were developed to provide educators, parents, and caretakers guidance for increasing physical activity among the preschool population. Recommendations for how, when, and in what manner parents encourage and participate with their children to be physically active has great potential to positively influence the percentage of preschoolers who meet these guidelines. This article is grounded in the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework which states that caregivers, parents, and preschools should work together in a home, school and community approach that supports the health and well-being of young children. The purpose of this article is to address a call for improved physical activity implementation by outlining ways educators can facilitate physical activity within the preschool setting, bridge the knowledge gap with parents, and provide specific ideas to engage family-based physical activity to assist children in meeting Active Start Guidelines 1 and 2. (author abstract)

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United States

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