ABSTRACT

We have written this chapter as academic researchers with both professional and personal interests in how we can critically reflect on practice to ensure learners get meaningful, equitable experiences. Reflecting on our personal experiences (teaching, family, research) we acknowledge that not all children arrive to their Early Years (EY) setting, school or higher education institution, with the same experiences and knowledge but how do we accommodate for this in our practice? If we take the example of numeracy or literacy from the EY right up to the end of secondary education, we as practitioners acknowledge that some children are “better” at these areas of education. We equally, as a society, recognise that numeracy and literacy are “important” and therefore scaffold our practice to meet the needs of our learners and ensure they develop appropriately based on what they arrive to our context with. However, do we do the same for Physical Development (PD)? If not, why not? As active performers in football and netball, we have both recently witnessed young children (3/4 years old) playing with a ball but never being shown or told how to kick or catch properly. Would this be the same if we witnessed a child wrongly counting animals on the farm? While there is much support (in academic, political and public debate) for increased physical activity (PA) time for young children – and the benefits that can accrue with regard to aiding health and well-being (and helping to address issues of childhood obesity) – there is perhaps less consideration given to the contribution such activities can play in supporting children’s overall development (and the potential impact this may have on academic outcomes).