How to measure physical activity?

Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health (LIKES) conducts and develops multidisciplinary and applied research on physical activity. Likes is leading the PIILO-project on monitoring joy, physical activity and motor skills in young children. The specific purpose is to improve monitoring physical activity at national level and its use in promoting early childhood education. The project compares different methods of measuring physical activity and motor skills. The project started in spring 2019. Progressive Feedback participates in the project.

`Measuring movement is not a simple matter. In 2019, we compared physical activity indicators in kindergarten. The aim has been to compare the results of accelerometer and observation. The metrics were compared during normal day care days. The pilot was carried out in the vicinity of Jyväskylä in the fall of 2019. The physical activity of the child was measured with accelerometers placed on three different points of the body and a heart rate monitor. In addition to the accelerometer measurements, the physical activity of the child and his or her environment in the kindergarten were observed by three different methods, one of which was Progressive Feedback. Observers have been methodologically trained surveyors.

In 2020, in the second phase of the project, measurements will be carried out in ECEC units. At the end of the project, a report will be completed in 2020, which concludes with a justification of the plan to carry out population monitoring of the movement of young children. More information about the project can be found (in Finnish) at https://www.likes.fi/tutkimus/piilo-tutkimus-ja-kehittamishanke.

From the point of Progressive Feedback, the project is an excellent way to learn more about the reliability of the observation and the validity of the criteria (the relation of observation to other indicators).

Facilitating play

At Lego Foundation, we have been writing a white paper about Play facilitation: the science behind the art of engaging young children. The writers are Hanne Jensen, Angela Pyle, Jennifer M. Zosh, Hasina B. Ebrahim, Alejandra Zaragoza Scherman, Jyrki Reunamo and Bridget K. Hamre. Play is important in developing skills, learning, solving problems, in relationships, health and societal development. However, not all play is beneficial. Play facilitates learning when it is joyful, meaningful, actively engaging, iterative and socially interactive. In the paper, it is considered important that play is integrated to all activity, including instruction. The paper includes a lot of research results based on our project. Thank you for everyone for their contribution. The paper is disseminated world-wide by Lego and it is launched officially 27 February 2019 in South Africa.

PF & dSign

Vertti Kivi (dSign Vertti Kivi & Co) has created an interior design for a harmonious, exiting and playful kindergarten for our project. The design has a great variety of surroundings and moods inspired by Finnish forest. Especially inspiring are the adaptable (automatic, programmable, creative or manual) lighting designs, for example, sunrise, noon, sunset, moonlight and starlight. You can see world in a different light. In the end, all we ever see in this world is light.

Less physical activity in weekends

An article by Anna-Liisa Kyhälä, Jyrki Reunamo ja Heikki Ruismäki titled Preschool Children are more Physically Active and less Sedentary on Weekdays Compared with Weekends has just been accepted for publication in Journal of Early Childhood Education Research. In the article, it can be seen clearly that it is not enough to look at the average amount of physical activity, children’s differences are also important. Furthermore, because children seem to less physically active during weekends, sufficient physical activity in day care center is even more important.

Progressive Feedback for kindergarten principals in Helsinki

In Helsinki, we have collected more than 10 000 observation in the term of 2017-2018. Feedback of the results was delivered for all kindergarten principals. For example, the results support the new guidelines for increasing planning time. Also, happy to announce that the objectives for physical activity were met in Helsinki! Congratulations.

Orientation project in Turkey

Ege University has use Orientation project tools for observation, child evaluation and learning environment evaluation to study Turkish pre-school. In Turkey, pre-school is usually half-day activity. Often there is only one teacher for a group of twenty-five children. There are interesting differences, but also a lot of interesting similarities. We hope we can start reporting of the results soon!

Progressive feedback available for the cities and early educators

It is one small step for early educator, one giant leap for early education! To start using the new progressive feedback interface with a regular web-browser. In the interface there are both readymade analysis and a possibility to edit the results in many ways, resulting in a versatile and real-time feedback for the early educators. Now the cities have access to Finnish results in real time. What’s more, now the city’s own results can be seen in comparison. We have started a new era in the evaluation, feedback and development of Early Childhood Education.

Physical activity lessons from Finland?

Unfortunately our results describing children’s physical activity in Early Education are published only in Finnish. The first small article about our latest results in English has just been published in Nursery World. Even though there are still a lot of things to enhance in Finland, there may also be some things that could be used in other countries too, see Jyrki Reunamo: Physical activity: some lessons from Finland).