Starting this spring, three- to six-year-olds at dozens of early learning centres and other locations across P.E.I. will be introduced to new ways to play.
The Active Start Program comes with 100 lesson plans, training and equipment to teach kids the fundamentals of movement, in hopes they'll continue to be active.
Jamie Whynacht of Sport PEI was demonstrating the Active Start Program in the gymnasium at the Parkdale/Sherwood Headstart on Tuesday. Kids are jumping like frogs, throwing balls through a hoop, balancing beanbags on their heads, and having a great time.
"At the end of the day what we really want are kids that if a ball shows up on the playground, they know what to do with that," said Whynacht.
"Play is kind of lost on this generation a little bit. And we really want to help them have that confidence in playing later on in life."
Through a partnership with Parasport and Recreation and the Special Olympics, all lessons include tips for instructors to work toward more inclusionary practices.
Parkdale/Sherwood Headstart is one of the 33 early learning centres that will be doing the program. Centre manager Carol Ford said they already do a lot of gross motor skills with the children, but these new lessons plans will help.
"They have researched it, they're providing us equipment, and also that will help the parents," said Ford.
The province and the federal government are each contributing $45,000 to the program.
The Health Department hopes the skills being learned in a fun way through the program will encourage the children to be active throughout their lives.
Research into how well the program works will continue as it is introduced across the province.