Joy, play and doing together; Recommendations for physical activity in early childhood

The first recommendations concerning physical activity of under eight-year-olds, Recommendations for physical activity in early childhood education 2005 (Guides of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2005:17) have now been updated based on the initiative of the national Joy in Motion programme. The recommendations were hoped to respond to the changes in the children’s living conditions and the amount and types of physical activities over the past ten years. Another aim was to update the scientific base of the recommendations. The new Recommendations for physical activity in early childhood (2016) were prepared as part of the work of the Steering group for health-enhancing physical activity (TEHYLI). The steering group commented on and approved the recommendations compiled by the multidisciplinary national group of experts specifically invited to carry out the task. The recommendations are founded on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The recommendations are based on scientific information on how the adults interacting with under eight-year-olds can facilitate the realisation of the rights of children by comprehensive support for their growth, development, health and wellbeing through physical activities. Studies have shown that physical activity promotes the child’s physical, cognitive, psychological, emotional and social development. The scientific knowledge base of the recommendations has also been published (Scientific justification for the recommendations for physical activity in early childhood 2016. Ministry of Education and Culture 2016: 22) The Recommendations for physical activity in early childhood inform about the amount and type of physical activity for the under eight-year-old, roles of the physical, psychological and social environments, and planning and implementation of guided physical exercise and education on exercise as part of early childhood education. The recommendations are intended for parents, early childhood education teachers, physical exercise and healthcare professionals, and other organisations and individuals involved in promoting physical activity, health or wellbeing among under eight-year-olds