Evaluation of the effectiveness of play@home
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Mercer, T., Grainger, A., Rush, R. & Law, J. (2011) Evaluation of the effectiveness of play@home, , , no. 41, ,
To date there have been very few research trials or evaluations of the effectiveness of family-based Early Years interventions for physical activity promotion. Moreover, previous evaluations of many Early Years physical activity promotion intervention schemes have understandably focused on implementation processes, outputs (e.g. distribution, access to and uptake of programmes) and short-term outcomes (knowledge, skills, abilities) with, at this time, very little evaluation of their longer-term effectiveness. play@home is a physical activity promotion programme for children from birth to five years which promotes interaction and loving touch to encourage bonding between parent and child. The play@home programme has been developed on the philosophy that parents and carers are children's first educators. In this regard parents/carers are considered to have a crucial role to play in encouraging children to develop friendships and interact with situations outside the family home. The programme is not only about what parents/carers can do for children, but just as importantly, what parents/carers can do with their children. The play@home programme is designed to provide parents and carers with activity ideas for playing with their child from the earliest days. Resources are provided to parents, including three books for the target ages of 0-1 years, 1-3 years, and 3-5 years with inexpensive, easy-to-follow ideas and activities that assist parents with the challenges of parenthood and childcare. The books include activities for babies and children to stimulate their curiosity, imagination and creativity and influence overall development through play activities, movement to music and interaction with other children and adults. The resources are designed to (i) provide parents and carers with free information and guidance, (ii) encourage children's enjoyment of physical activity and play from an early age, (iii) encourage communication through talking and listening, (iv) develop body awareness and promote the development of physical movement, coordination and motor skills, (v) promote the value of social interaction and stimulus so that children learn to interact socially and communicate, and (vi) promote the value of physical touch and positive reassurance.