How does ACPL embed their evidence-based physical literacy program in your service?
Sector > Quality > How does ACPL embed their evidence-based physical literacy program in your service?

How does ACPL embed their evidence-based physical literacy program in your service?

by Jason Roberts

October 13, 2020

The Australian College of Physical Literacy (ACPL), the organisation behind the creation of Australia’s first evidence-based physical literacy program for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, has provided The Sector with a set of resources designed to highlight how the groundbreaking curriculum can be implemented in a service. 


The program, called the Active Early Learning (AEL) curriculum, was born out of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Canberra Institute for Sport and Exercise in collaboration with ACPL which confirmed that the implementation of a structured physical literacy curriculum in ECEC settings is effective in improving not only gross motor skill development but also key cognitive functions such as expressive vocabulary and impulse control in young children.


“We know the benefits of the AEL curriculum having worked so closely with the University of Canberra to develop the program. We also know from the University of Canberra’s sister program, the Physical Education & Physical Literacy (PEPL) approach that the key to the successful rollout of the program is to focus on educational efficiency and making the best use of existing service attributes and capacity.” Andrew Smith, CEO of AEPL said. 


Three step process ensures effective implementation of program


The successful roll out of the AEL curriculum is grounded in three fundamental components that, when applied together, ensure the success of the program. 


Step 1 – Creation of an AEL curriculum that’s tailored for each service


An AEL curriculum consists of a set of activities, transitions and extensions that are combined in a way to promote the “physical literacy” of the children attending any given ECEC service, in a way that complements both the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards


The mix of activities found in each curriculum will depend on the specific characteristics of an individual service, the capability of its educators and the needs and existing development profiles of the children attending.


The program is made available in a readily understandable document that can be displayed in each room. 


Step 2 – Allocation of an AEL Coach to support program tailoring and educator delivery


A dedicated AEL Coach is allocated to each service with the specific role of supporting, developing, mentoring and assisting educators to be more confident and competent in the delivery of the curriculum every day.


The AEL coach is also instrumental in refining the curriculum to ensure that it is developmentally appropriate for the children attending, and delivered in a consistent manner.


All AEL coaches are trained in the field of physical literacy and have a background in ECEC.


Step 3 – Ongoing online professional development modules support educator growth


A key aspect of the success of the AEL program is the ability to create a complementary curriculum that meets the program objectives but also supports educators to grow on their professional development journey. 


A comprehensive set of online materials and resources, which are continually updated and refined, is made available to educators to empower them to take their own learning journey through the content, develop their own skills and knowledge and ultimately become even more effective advocates for physical literacy.


It has been proven through multiple studies that a program based on an optimised activity mix combined with empowered educators and ongoing “coach” support will lead to services meeting outcome objectives across all of the key developmental domains for children. 


Physical literacy results recorded and documented in easy to read report for families


As the ongoing implementation of the AEL program in each service evolves, the impact on the children will become increasingly evident across the multiple developmental domains and will be captured in an ACPL Physical Literacy Result report for each child. 


The primary objective of the report is to help families see the progress of their child’s Physical Literacy journey over time and be able to contextualise their performance relative to three key benchmark categories namely; beginner, developing and extending, focussing on physical and executive function activities. 


Finally, the recording of progression results are also made available to educators to support their understanding as to how application of the program is yielding tangible results for children and to support their professional development. The coach is also able to adjust and adapt curriculums in real time to account for result changes. 


Additional support components ensure a holistic ‘all around’ service from ACPL 


In addition to the design, implementation and tracking of the AEL curriculum in each centre, ACPL also offers a comprehensive range of additional services for participating centres as it aims to ensure maximum impact is received by customers. 

These services take the AEL offering to a premium level, and are ideally suited to services who wish to priortise improvement in quality areas one, two and six, in line with Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) goals, or feedback from authorised officers about needing to improve in these areas. 


The additional services offered by ACPL in relation to the AEL program include: 


  • Transition to school statements, highlighting the physical literacy gains the children have made whilst attending ECEC, and any areas for improvement 
  • Social media “blasts” which are prepared and ready, mapped against the curriculum, to share with families each week 
  • Community marketing support, perfect for services who wish to increase occupancy by highlighting the unique selling point offered through AEL programming 


As well as the services outlined above, AEL can offer reports and other data analysis which can be directly incorporated into the QIP, showing the growth and development of individual children, cohorts of children, and the service as a whole against physical literacy measures. 


The program of parent activities can support services to demonstrate a strong link to family and community, as well as encouraging parents to spend time developing children’s physical literacy skills away from home.


For those children with additional needs who are accessing the physical literacy program whilst attending ECEC, the value added propositions represent an opportunity for the service to collaborate with allied health professionals and support in the holistic development of the child’s goals and ongoing progress, as well as supporting the team around the child to be fully informed of important aspects of physical development. 


To learn more about how the AEL curriculum can be rolled out at your service, or to discuss the range of value added services involved with the AEL program, please contact Andrew on 0418 741 271 or via email to 


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