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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 education lay the foundations for positive health and physical participation in later life.

In this unit pre–service teachers will explore physical 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). 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 educational policy and subsequent curriculum documents (e.g., Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and state frameworks) 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 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 allow pre–service teachers to demonstrate their understandings of the links between the educational context, home and community, and evaluate a range of contextual factors to plan for 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 - Design 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 (GA8; APST 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 5.3; ACECQA A4, A5, B1, B2, B8, C1, C2, 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 (GA2, GA4, GA5; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3; 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:

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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.

3.1 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.

5.3 Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

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.


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 

B1 The Early Years Learning Framework 

B2 The Australian Curriculum 

B8 Physical and health education 

C. Teaching pedagogies: 

C1 Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches 

C2 Play based pedagogies 

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  
  • 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. 
  • Professional attributes, roles and responsibilities of the early childhood teacher 
  • 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 
  • Teaching/pedagogical practices and play as a teaching and learning tool 
  • Values and principles underpinning student wellbeing with a focus on the whole person, including Catholic social teaching 
  • 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 
  • 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 and learning  
  • 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. 

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 


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

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, 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 by reviewing legislation, policy and processes relevant to meeting the educational needs of all learners, including those from diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torrens Strait Islander learners and those with a disability.  


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Australian Curriculum 

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. Early Years Learning Framework

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

Recommended references 

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

Brewer, H., & Renck Jalongo, M.(2018). Physical Activity and Health Promotion in the Early Years: Effective Strategies for Early Childhood Educators (Vol. 14, Educating the Young Child). Springer International Publishing.  

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

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

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

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

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

MacNaughton, G., & Williams, G. (2009). Techniques for teaching young children (3rd ed.). Pearson Education. 

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

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

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

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

Rose, J., Gilbert, L., & Richards, V. (2016). Health and well-being in early childhood. SAGE. 

Vize, A., & Kurena, T. (2015). Taking care of you: Reducing stress and burnout among teachers and educators. Teaching Solutions. 

Westwell, M. (2016). Supporting brain development. Early Childhood Australia. 

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