Move Baby Move - Book Launch

June 22, 2007
  • Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to be here today, on behalf of Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard, to help launch Move Baby Move – a very timely and informative book that highlights the critical importance of movement for young children.

    From birth, children have an in-built curiosity and desire to experience the world around them. The ability to move is an essential part of their early childhood development and movement forms the basis of who we become because it develops and strengthens the body and brain as we grow through childhood.

    We often remember, and capture, many of the ‘firsts’ in children’s lives. For young children many of these involve the achievement of some physical milestone – no doubt all of the parents here can remember the first time their child crawled or sat up unaided or can recall their absolute excitement when the first step was taken. Then there are the first drawings that appear on our fridges or the walls at our work places and the first attempts at writing our names or catching and throwing a ball.

    Research confirms the value that we place on these physical achievements. We now recognise that having early, positive movement experiences benefits the development of our brains and that an active child becomes an active learner. Being able to physically experience concepts and information promotes the connection between what children can see and do and what their minds understand.

    Many different groups and organisations that operate in the early childhood space such as Plunket, the Brainwave Trust, Parent Centre, Sport and Recreation New Zealand, and other early childhood and child welfare organisations have recognised the importance of introducing and encouraging movement at an early age.

    The Labour-led government, through Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC), has recognised the importance of early childhood physical activity experiences to the wider work around activating a nation and supporting a sports system to produce winning performances on the world stage. Through Active Movement, SPARC is promoting greater understanding and awareness of the need to get very young New Zealanders off to a flying start in the physical activity stakes by investing in people who can educate, support and inspire the key influencers in the early childhood sector.

    Within the sport sector too, there are examples of sports embracing the need to develop resources that focus on the development of 0-5 year olds. Most appropriately GymSports New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand have both recently launched resources that support early childhood movement and activity.

    Today we are here to celebrate the launch of another superb resource, Move Baby Move. I congratulate the authors, Sophie Foster and Jerome Hartigan, for tackling this project, and for reinforcing the messages that the government is promoting through SPARC’s Active Movement initiative.

    It is heartening to see the increased level of communication to the wider community of the important messages about the need for our under fives to be physically active. It all adds credence and momentum to this important work.

    I hope that Move Baby Move becomes a best-seller and that every home in New Zealand gets hold of a copy. I wish Sophie and Jerome every success in spreading the important messages contained in the book.

    Thank you all for your continued dedication, and for helping to keep New Zealand at the forefront of early childhood development.

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