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EDPH460 Health, Wellbeing and Physical Education in Early Childhood EDEC313 Health and Wellbeing in the Early Years

Unit rationale, description and aim

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

In this unit pre-service teachers will explore physical education and health and nutrition curriculum for children birth to eight years. In addition, pre-service teachers will examine issues of children’s wellbeing in the contexts of prior to school, transition to school, family and community. It will have 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). Australian educational policy and subsequent curriculum documents (e.g., Early Years Learning Framework (ELYF) and state frameworks) will be examined in relation to supporting young children’s health, wellbeing and physical education. The unit will also briefly focus on the health, wellbeing and physical activity of staff who work within prior to school and school settings as complementary (and contingent to) young children’s wellbeing.

The aim of this unit is to provide pre-service teachers with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide positive, developmentally appropriate learning experiences that encourage lifelong health and physical activity participation.  

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 and explain the significance of health, wellbeing and physical activity on early brain development, and physical, social and emotional development and learning in young children (GA5; APTS 1,2, 4.4; ACECQA A3, A4, A5, B8) 

LO2        Explain the range of influences on children’s wellbeing, 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; APTS 1.6, 2.4, 4.4; ACECQA A5, A6, D3) 

LO3        Critique child protection policy and how it impacts upon the health and wellbeing of young children (GA4, GA5; APTS 1.6, 4.4; ACECQA A4, A5, B8) 

LO4        Evaluate occupational health and safety and how it impacts upon the health and wellbeing of young children and educators (GA8; APTS 1.6, 4.4, 7.2 ACECQA A4, A5, B8, F2) 

LO5        Design and critically evaluate play experiences and pedagogical approaches (inclusive of engaging with children’s views and opinions about their learning) in the early years that support the development and learning of young children in the domains of physical education, health and nutrition (GA5, GA8; APTS 1.2, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4; ACECQA A4, A5, B8, C1, C2, D4) 

Graduate attributes

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

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:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

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

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

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.

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

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

A5. Wellbeing and safety early intervention

A6. Diversity, difference and inclusivity 

B.   Education and curriculum studies

B8. Physical and health education 

C.   Early childhood pedagogies

C1. Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2. Play-based pedagogies 

D.   Family and Community Contexts

D3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4. Culture, diversity and inclusion 

F.   Early childhood professional practice

F2. Management and administration


Topics will include:

  • The importance of supporting the physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing of young children for their development and learning
  • 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
  • Approaches to supporting the physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing of young children in prior-to-school and school settings, including a play-based approach to curriculum and safe and supportive environments  
  • Planning, implementing, evaluating and reporting/sharing healthy eating learning opportunities for young children in the early years making links to the relevant National and State curriculum and policy documents
  • Planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting/sharing physical activity and education experiences in alignment with the Early Years Learning Framework and State curriculum and policy documents
  • Health and safety issues including hygiene, infection control, allergies, anaphylaxis, and keeping the environment safe for all
  • The influence of prior-to-school/school, home and community characteristics and the importance of relationships in supporting the physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing of all young children.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students will undertake a range of teaching and learning strategies, due to the nature and practical demands of the unit. These will include lectures, individual and group work, workshops, problem-solving, from both a school and university perspective. Practical activities will be a feature of this unit, whereby you will be able to put into practice health and physical education theory you have learnt. The unit is specifically designed to provide reflective learning experiences for students to construct their own understandings of effective pedagogy meeting students’ needs, underpinning the learning required to complete the assessment tasks and meet the learning outcomes of the unit.

Technology Enhanced Learning

Technology will be used throughout the unit. Lectures will be recorded and accessible for review via LEO. Practical workshops and tutorials are not possible to record. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment in this unit is designed to allow pre-service teachers to demonstrate that they understand the varied influences on early development. Assessment further requires pre-service teachers to acquire knowledge of relevant policies necessary for child development, safety and education. This knowledge is then assimilated and applied in task two where pre-service teachers design learning experiences for children incorporating policy and curriculum.

 Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks and achieve a cumulative mark of more than 50%.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Written assignments will be submitted and returned via TurnItIn

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Written Report:

Select one significant contemporary issue concerning the health and emotional wellbeing of young children such as resilience, bullying, child protection and draw on literature and curriculum/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.


LO1, LO2, LO3 LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2:

Design a range of experiences that could be offered to support 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 state and national curriculum and policy documents. Consideration should be given to staff wellbeing and safety in supporting young children’s physical education/activity.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

Early Years Learning Framework

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Being, belonging and becoming: Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Recommended references

Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council (2012). Staying healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (5th ed.). Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. School policy and advisory guide: Physical and sport education. Retrieved from

McMaster, N. (2019). Teaching health and physical education in early childhood and the primary years. Australia: Oxford University Press.

Pangrazi, R.P. (2013). Dynamic physical education for the elementary school. (17th ed.).Glenview, IL: Pearson Education Inc.

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