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EDPH460 Health, Wellbeing and Physical Education in Early Childhood , EDHP313 Health, Wellbeing and Physical Education in Early Childhood

Unit rationale, description and aim

Positive early experiences with health and physical development lay the foundations for positive health and physical participation in later life.

In this unit students will explore physical health and nutrition for children birth to eight years. In addition, they will examine issues of children’s wellbeing in the contexts of family and community. There will be a particular focus on the issues being faced by Australian Indigenous children, children with disabilities, children who are gifted, and children experiencing marginalisation (e.g., children who are speakers of English as an additional language). The unit will also address relevant legislation, policies and advocacy practices that support learner and family wellbeing, and build partnerships that ensure their meaningful engagement in learning experiences for learners across a range of abilities and diverse backgrounds.

In particular, the Australian policy within the National Quality Framework (NQF) will be examined in relation to supporting young children’s physical health and wellbeing. The unit will also briefly focus on the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of adults as complementary (and contingent to) young children’s wellbeing.

The aim of this unit is to allow students to demonstrate their understandings of the links between contexts including home and community, and evaluate a range of contextual factors which impact the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of young children.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - identify the significance of health, wellbeing and physical activity on early brain development, and physical, social and emotional development and learning in young children (GA5; APST 3.1, 4.4; ACECQA A3, A4, A5, B8)  

LO2 - explain the range of influences on children’s well-being, with particular focus on specific issues around the participation rights of children, with emphasis given to Australian Indigenous children, children with disabilities, children who are gifted, and children experiencing marginalisation (e.g. children who are speakers of English as an additional language) (GA1, GA3; APST 4.4; ACECQA A5, A6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5)  

LO3 - analyse ways play supports young children in the domains of physical development, health and nutrition (GA8; APST 3.4; ACECQA A4, A5, B8, D4) 

LO4 - reflect upon the theoretical perspectives of pre-service teachers’ own personal cultural, familial, developmental and educational background to understand and evaluate relevant legislation, policies and advocacy practices and contextual factors to support learner and family wellbeing within the National Quality Framework (NQF) (G2, GA4, GA5; APST 1.4, 1.6, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA A4, D1, E1, E2, F2, F3, F4).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4    think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

1.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disability.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A. Child development and care 

A3 Social and emotional development  

A4 Child health, wellbeing and safety  

A5 Early intervention 

A6 Diversity, difference and inclusivity

B. Education and curriculum studies 

B8 Physical and health education 

D. Family and community contexts: 

D1 Developing family and community partnerships 

D2 Multicultural education 

D3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives 

D4 Socially inclusive practice 

D5 Culture, diversity and inclusion 

E. History and philosophy of early childhood: 

E1 Historical and comparative perspectives 

E2 Contemporary theories and practice 

F. Early childhood professional practice: 

F2 Management and administration 

F3 Professional identity and development 

F4 Advocacy 


Topics will include: 

  • Health and safety issues including hygiene, infection control, allergies, anaphylaxis, and keeping the environment safe for all children and adults in early childhood contexts.
  • The importance of relationships in supporting the physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing of all young children.
  • Professional attributes, roles and responsibilities of adults supporting children’s development
  • Political, economic, cultural and social factors in relation to children, families and ECEC
  • Multiple perspectives on young children’s learning and development in a diverse world
  • Exploration of physical health and wellbeing through play
  • Values and principles underpinning student wellbeing with a focus on the whole person
  • Share healthy eating opportunities for young children in the early years and make links to the National Quality Framework (NQF) and related policy documents
  • A health model of wellness and wellbeing as a framework for exploring the social, cognitive, physical, environmental, emotional and spiritual aspects that support a healthy start to life
  • The importance of supporting the physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing of young children for their development 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit. This may involve a combination of face-to-face, online and blended delivery, on a weekly basis across a 12-week semester or in intensive mode. Students should expect to participate in a range of the following: online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations and group discussions, both online and face-to-face, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks. Some participation in appropriate educational settings maybe required. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 


Explore ways play supports the physical health of young children, such as, natural outdoor play experiences. The rationale of the experiences should reflect a whole-of-community response, inclusive of the voices of children, that takes account of National Quality Framework policy documents. Consideration should be given to staff wellbeing and safety in supporting young children’s physical activity.


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2 


Select one significant contemporary issue concerning the health and emotional wellbeing of young children such as resilience, bullying, and child protection. Draw on National Quality Framework policy documents to reflect on ways to support the health and wellbeing of young children. Consider how current knowledge could be applied to practice, policies and procedures by reviewing legislation relevant to meeting the health and wellbeing needs of all children, including those from diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners and those with a disability.


LO1, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8  

Representative texts and references

Recommended references 

Archer, C., & Siraj, I. (2015). Encouraging physical development through movement-play. London, UK: Sage Publications Ltd.  

Braveman, P. (2014). Early childhood experiences shape health and well-being throughout life. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

Brakhane-Endres, J., Rockwell, R.E., & Gurden Mense, C. (2014). Food, nutrition and the young child. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. 

Boyle, L., & Jenkins, B. (2018). Bodysong: Exploring children's natural world through creative dance. Jamberoo, NSW: Pademelon Press. 

Garvis, S., & Pendergast, D. (Eds.). (2017). Health and wellbeing in childhood (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 

Goodsir, K. & Theodoropoulos, D. (2016). My family is a team: A story about mental illness. Mentone, Vic: Dandelion Books 

McGlade, H. (2012). Our greatest challenge: Aboriginal children and human rights. Canberra, ACT: Aboriginal Studies Press. 

NHMRC (2013). Staying healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services. Canberra ACT: NHMRC. Online access: 

Oberklaid, F. (2004). Health in early childhood settings: From emergencies to the common cold. Castle Hill, NSW: Pademelon Press. 

Roberts, R. (2010). Wellbeing from birth. London: SAGE Publications. 

Rose, J., Gilbert, L., & Richards, V. (2016). Health and well-being in early childhood. London; Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. 

Westwell, M. (2016). Supporting brain development. Deakin West, ACT: Early Childhood Australia. 

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