Physical Activity in Head Start Classrooms: How Teachers’ Attitudes and Training Contribute to Program Usage

Colin M Cox

Abstract


This research to practice article summarizes the findings of a study that examined the frequency of Head Start teachers’ implementation of the physical activity components of I am Moving, I am Learning (IM/IL). Lead teachers in a large city in the United States completed questionnaires to self-report frequency of program implementation, their general attitudes toward physical activity promotion, and their specific attitudes about implementing IM/IL. Teachers reported using movement vocabulary most frequently, followed by facilitating unstructured activities. Implementing structured activities was less frequent. Almost all teachers reported positive attitudes about promotion of physical activity in general and the IM/IL program specifically. Three variables were associated with teachers’ program usage: (1) prior teacher training; (2) teachers’ perceptions about program usability; and (3) teachers’ prior experience leading physical activity. Many Head Start teachers described IM/IL as a feasible and acceptable physical activity promotion program. Understanding ways to promote more frequent implementation of structured active play is important

Keywords


Head Start; preschool; physical activity; active play

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This journal is a publication of the NHSA and the CEME at UNC Charlotte.