Paediatrics Publications

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BMC Public Health





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Background: Early childhood educators play a prominent role in promoting healthy activity behaviours in childcare. However, they have expressed that they lack the appropriate pre-service training to confidently lead physical activity (PA), and minimize sedentary behaviour (SB), in childcare. As such, the purpose of this Delphi study was to generate and reach agreement on content areas for inclusion in a PA and SB e-Learning module for Early Childhood Education (ECE) students. Methods: Purposeful sampling of Canadian/international researchers was used to form two expert panels: a PA/SB expert panel (n = 26), and a Canadian ECE panel (n = 35). The PA/SB experts suggested their top 12 PA/SB topics for the module via online survey. These topics were then pooled to generate a list of 19 content areas. In a second online survey, both panels of experts rated the importance of each content area (0 = unimportant to 5 = very important). Mean ratings (M) were ranked separately for each panel, and then ratings were pooled to create an overall ranking of the 19 content areas. Inter-panel agreement of importance rankings was visually represented as a scatterplot and quantified using Spearman’s rho (rs). Results: The top-rated content area was Outdoor Play (M = 4.77 ± 0.64), followed by Benefits of PA in the Early Years (M = 4.75 ± 0.66), and Factors Influencing PA and SB in Childcare (M = 4.71 ±.74). Monitor PA and Sedentary Time Within Your Classroom had the lowest combined score (M = 3.77 ± 1.44). There was moderate-to strong inter-panel agreement for content area importance rankings (rs = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.20 to 0.83). The majority of the ECE expert panel considered this training important for ECE students (94.3%), aligning with ECE curriculum objectives (91.4%) and accreditation standards (78.8%), and complementary to the present ECE curriculum (88.6%). Conclusions: Providing PA and SB training to ECE students is a proactive way to ensure healthy movement behaviours are prioritized in childcare programming. With the PA/SB expert-developed content areas, and endorsement by the ECE expert panel, implementing this training within ECE programs is a necessary next step.