Early Years Development

Physical development is critical during the first five years of life. It is well documented that higher levels of physical activity in childhood can lead to continued participation in later life.

It is important to establish high levels of physical activity as early as possible to encourage children to stay active enough to benefit their health and to support continued interest and participation throughout adult life.

Across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland we are committed to driving the Early Years Physical Activity agenda forward. We work closely with a range of partners to provide local support around this agenda.

Our Early Years opportunities and information within this section, include:

UK Physical Activity Guidelines for Under 5s

Physical activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor based play and water based activities in safe environments. Active children from birth to 5 years old are healthy, happy, school ready and sleep better.

All children should be encouraged to be active throughout the day, every day

  • Children who are not yet walking should be encouraged from birth to do simple activities such as tummy time, enabling them to reach and roll for their favourite toy or acting out some nursery rhymes!
  • Children capable of walking should be physically active for at least 3 hours each day. Play hide and seek, put some music on and move to the beat or more energetic activity like active play in the park, swimming and skipping.

The benefits are clear...

  • Develop strong bones, muscles and heart
  • Develop good motor skills including balance and coordination
  • Supports good social skills - great for making new friends
  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Helps to enable a child to sleep well
  • Boosts a child's confidence and emotional skills

Early Years CPD Opportunities

We organise exciting high quality training course opportunities and an annual Conference with Awards, that Early Years practitioners or anyone that works with children under the age of 5 can access.

Our Purposeful Physical Play Training (PPP) is our main training course for Early Years Practitioners or anyone who works with under 5's.

What the training will offer you:

  • On-going support from experts in the field
  • Access to a comprehensive resource bank
  • Practical ideas on how to create positive enabling environments & providing positive activities for babies, toddlers and pre schoolers
  • Practical evidence based ideas on how to engage with parents in purposeful physical play

If you would like to help your children learn to love being active, improve their health and learning prospects and demonstrate your commitment to – this training is for you!

Opportunities currently available will be listed below.

Courses - Early Years


The Healthy Tots Physical Activity Guide and supporting 'Lets Get Moving' cards have been developed by Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport and partners to support early years practitioners plan and coordinate appropriate physical activity play opportunities and environments for children under 5.

They will help practitioners meet requirements of various UK curriculums, particularly those relating to physical development within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

The Lets Get Moving cards give practical ideas of what practitioners, parents and carers can do with each age group, from 0-3 months to preschoolers.

Our 'Let's Get Moving' leaflet for parents provides top tips and advice on how to encourage 0-5 year olds to be active in the home environment.

Leicestershire Healthy Tots

Leicestershire Healthy Tots is an early year's accredited health promotion programme designed to encourage settings to promote healthy lifestyles as well as becoming health promoting environments. It was based on the National Healthy Schools model as well as similar tried and tested programmes for under-fives, established in other parts of the UK.

The programme aims to provide support to early years settings to enable them to:

  • Support young children in making healthier choices around physical activity, healthy eating and emotional health and wellbeing.
  • Develop a framework for planning, delivering and evaluating health promotion, which is in line with the early years foundation stage.
  • Enable all children to develop healthy lifestyles regardless of age, disability, ethnic origin, faith, gender, language, sexuality, social class or special needs.
  • Support children and their parents in developing healthy behaviours at home
  • Develop staff confidence and competence in relation to health promotion
  • Develop links with parents, the wider community and other agencies.

The resources in the section above and the Purposeful Physical Play Training will help practitioners work towards the accreditation criteria for physical activity.

For further details, to access resources and to sign your setting up for the accreditation process, please visit:

Twilight Tots

We are currently piloting the Twilight Tots programme which is an intergenerational piece of work to enable local settings and care homes to come together to be physically active.

Please see the video below when Little Stars Nursery (Melton) visited Gretton Court...

For more information please contact:

Lucy Baginskis

Lucy Baginskis

Sports Development Officer

Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport

01509 564875


  • Equality Standard
    Active Leicester
    Sport England
    Harborough LSA
    Charnwood LSA
    Active Partnerships
    Leicestershire County Council
    H&B LSA
  • Melton LSA
    Active Rutland
    Blaby LSA
    O&W LSA


  • Blaby LSA
    Charnwood LSA
  • Active Partnerships
    Active Rutland
  • H&B LSA
  • Safeguarding
    Melton LSA
  • Harborough LSA
    Equality Standard
  • Active Leicester
    Leicestershire County Council
  • Sport England
    O&W LSA