Promoting children’s healthy eating and active play through the Munch & Move program

Your service can be supported to meet Quality Area 2 by promoting children’s healthy eating and active play through the Munch & Move program, a free NSW Health initiative that supports the healthy development of children.

17 November 2021
Two children and an early education teacher looking at a vegetable patch

Quality Area (QA) 2 of the National Quality Standards (NQS) address children’s health and safety. Element 2.1.3 focuses on ensuring healthy eating and physical activity are promoted and appropriate for each child.

The Munch & Move program is aligned with the NQS. It is a simple and effective way to support your service to meet several QAs, including QA 2, and it doesn’t require additional work by your team. For more information, view the How Munch & Move aligns with the National Quality Framework factsheet.

Munch & Move also aligns to best practice national health guidelines such as the Infant Feeding Guidelines, Australian Dietary Guidelines and 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years.

Embedding of QA 2 is important. Developing healthy eating and active play habits at an early age gives children the best chance of leading a healthy life into adulthood.

Did you know

  • The first 2000 days (from conception to age 5) of a child’s life impacts their health, wellbeing and fulfilment throughout life.
  • The gains children make from completing the recommended 600 hours of preschool education stay with them throughout their education and have been shown to improve their health and wellbeing outcomes significantly.

However

  • Around 1 in 6 (16.4%) NSW children 2 to 4 years are overweight or obese.
  • Around 1 in 5 NSW children 5 to 16 years (21%) are above a healthy weight.
  • Only 1 in 15 children eat the recommended serves of vegetables each day (7%).
  • Only 1 in 4 children are active enough each day (24%).

For more information, visit the NSW Ministry of Health the First 2000 Days Framework (2019) and NSW Childhood Obesity and Overweight Detailed Data Report (2020)

Children spend a significant amount of time in early childhood education and care services, making them an ideal setting to promote healthy habits to both children and families. For services wanting to embed healthy eating and physical activity (Standard 2.1.3) into routine practice and encourage their families to do the same, the Munch & Move program is an excellent place to start.

What is Munch & Move?

Munch & Move is a free NSW Health initiative to support the healthy development of children birth to 5 years by promoting physical activity, healthy eating and reduced small screen time (e.g. watching TV or DVDs, playing on computers and small hand-held games devices). Munch & Move offers training and resources to educators working in NSW early childhood education and care services. As of 30 September 2021, 89% of services in NSW are trained in the program.

For more information, visit the Munch & Move website.

What does Munch & Move offer early childhood education and care services?

Munch & Move provides professional development plus a comprehensive range of free resources to support your service to promote and embed healthy eating and physical activity. Your service will also receive tailored support from a Munch & Move Support Officer to implement the program. A Munch & Move Support Officer may support you with menu reviews, suggestions on incorporating physical activity into transition time, and policy development.

How can my service join Munch & Move?

The first step is to complete the Munch & Move eLearning package:

Munch & Move eLearning is an online training package that provides educators with the knowledge, skills and resources to implement the Munch & Move program in their service. The training takes around 3 hours, is self-paced and can be completed in several sessions.

Once complete, your service will have access to further professional development, hard copy resources, and your very own Munch & Move Support Officer to help you promote healthy habits at your service.

Access resources to promote children’s healthy eating and active play

When you join, you will receive a range of resources to help educators promote healthy eating and active play including:

Jack’s FUNtastic Day: A storybook about a boy named Jack who leaves his screen behind for a day to embark on a fun-finding expedition. Along the way he meets Ruby and together they discover that fun and games can be found just about anywhere. This story book comes with supporting educator resources and activity cards.

Healthy Eating Experiences: This resource is full of fun, innovative and developmentally appropriate healthy eating learning experiences that can be included and incorporated into everyday routines, interactions and curriculum.

Franky and Friends: A fundamental movement skills resource for pre-schoolers 3 -5 years full of fun games, warm up and cool down activities, and cues to help educators detect and correct movements.

Watch case studies of how other services have used the program to promote healthy eating and active play, visit the Munch & Move website.

Out of School Hours Care

NSW Health has also developed various resources to support OSHC services to encourage healthy eating and active play.

These include the Eat Smart Play Smart Manual online learning modules, and recipe videos.

For more information, visit the Out of School Hours Care website.

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