Educators’ Barriers and Facilitators to Physical Activity Policy Implementation in the Childcare Setting: Qualitative Findings From the Play Active Project

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Abstract

Purpose: We explored childcare educators’ perceived barriers and facilitators to policy implementation in order to inform the development and implementation of an early childhood education and care (ECEC) specific physical activity policy. This study was part of the Play Active (2019-2023) project which aimed to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based physical activity policy to improve physical activity levels in children attending ECEC. Approach: Stakeholder focus groups. Setting: ECEC centers in Perth, Western Australia. Sample: Educators (n=66) from 11 ECEC centers participated in 13 focus groups (August-September 2019). Methods: Semi-structured questions explored educators’ perceptions of barriers and facilitators to implementing a new physical activity policy. A qualitative descriptive approach within a naturalistic framework informed data analysis. Focus group data were reviewed and grouped through several iterations to produce core themes. Results: Four core themes resulted from focus groups: (1) leadership; (2) educator mindset: (3) parent engagement; and (4) organisational and educator capacity. Educators needed supportive leadership and a commitment of resources for physical activity policy implementation. Educators acknowledged physical activity practices can be influenced by knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and change capacity and stressed the need for parent engagement for successful implementation. Conclusions: Educators’ voices are important for informing implementation of physical activity policy and practices leading to improvements in children’s physical activity levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1326-1334
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Volume36
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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