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dc.contributor.authorUsher, Wayne
dc.description.abstractAIM The aim of this evaluation report was to measure the effectiveness of the Munchkin League Program (MLP). To achieve this, there were two specific research objectives, these being: 1) Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the MLP on key stakeholders (Early Childcare Centre Staff, Parents, Coaches and Children) and 2) Provide evidential baseline data (quantitative and qualitative) that will go towards providing informed recommendations to improve the effectiveness and impact of the MLP. METHOD A mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) evaluation study design was implemented. Data was collected (over a 6 month period – 2016) via administering an online survey, hosted at Griffith Univeristy. Ethics approval was approved via a full review - (GU Ref No: 2016/571). All participants (N = 38) in this evaluation had their anonymity protected. The online survey was presented to key stakeholders, these being: Centre Directors, Centre Staff, Program Staff, Coaching Staff and Parents. The survey contained 20 questions that were related to the aim/s of the program. Two measurement scales, using 5 point Linkert styles (low=1, OK=2, Good=3, Very good=4, Excellent=5 and Strongly disagree=1, Disagree=2, Neutral=3, Agree=4, Strongly agree=5) was implemented. Additionally, two open ended questions allowed participants to comment on various aspects of the program – related to the program aim/s, effectiveness and recommendations for improvements. Quantitative data analysis was undertaken using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (PASW20), whilst qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis to reveal the most frequently occurring concepts and themes. Leximancer software (Version 4.50.07) was used to assist in the qualitative analysis process. SURVEY DESIGN The online survey contained 20 closed questions – access link (here). Questions were related to addressing the aim/s of the program. Each question was observational in nature and required participants to self-reflect as to the quality, impact, delivery and effectiveness of the program. Closed questions were specifically sorted under four main Domains, these being: 1) Affective, 2) Social and Emotional Wellbeing, 3) Fine and Gross Motor Skills, and 4) Cognitive. The online survey also provided participants an opportunity to record commentaries as to their experiences associated with the MLP. These open ended questions allowed participants to record their personal experiences associated with the MLP. Commentaries went to support the initial four Domains (above) and requested that participants’ give consideration to the key aspects of the MLP in their responses (see Apendix 1 for Domains and associated sub-questions), these being: 1) Affective, 2) Social and Emotional Wellbeing, 3) Fine and Gross Motor Skills and 4) Cognitive. To gain further important participants’ experiences, two open ended questions were provided so as to measure enthusiasm (of children) and feedback for improving the delivery of the MLP. These two questions were: 1) Please comment about the general enthusiasm displayed by your child / children when participating in the MLP, and 2) Please give us your feedback as to how the MLP could be improved. RESULTS The evaluation and subsequent report of the MLP has indicated that the program design and implementation has been well accepted by key stakeholders. Data (quantitative and qualitative) suggests that the majority of stakeholders (N = 37, N= 99%) recorded that individual children’s participation rates and enjoyment levels (89.47%) were observed as being either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. The data strongly indicate that three of the four main Domains, being: 1) Affective, 2) Social and Emotional Wellbeing, 3) Fine and Gross Motor Skills, scored between the 70 – 90 % range for high satisfaction, whilst Domain, 4) Cognitive, scored the lowest (between 40 – 60%). Based on the combined data analysis (qualitative and quantitative), a recommendation from this evaluation would be to develop a more comprehensive approach to the design and delivery process concerning, ‘how the program may go to improve / support children’s basic literacy (42.11%) and numeracy skills (47.44%)’. Such a program, as the MLP, has a unique potential to deliver quality learning experiences (Literacy / Numeracy, social and emotional wellbeing) within a framework of physical activity, supporting the philosophy of the program, which is devoted to - ‘Learning through Play’ (84.21%). Of most significance, is that the MLP creates an environment where children’s early experiences in physical activity are highly valued and encouraged. It is well established that if children’s early experiences of being physically active are enjoyable and build basic movement capacities, then children will be more likely to try, enjoy, and succeed in their future physical challenges. Interestingly, the breadth and depth of the MLP, goes to reinforce the important foundational concepts associated with developing a 1 2‘physically literate’ child. It is well established that Australian children must be supported in developing the ability to move proficiently, the confidence and willingness to try new activities, and an awareness of the importance of physical activity for health and academic performance. What is more, the MLP aims align with the contemporary Australian Curriculum Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA) priorities within the subject area of 3Health and Physical Education (there is scope for cross curricular connections in subject areas – Numeracy and Literacy). Such a program (MLP) implementation goes to further prepare children in the Early Years for transition into lower Primary School settings. This is possibly an area that needs further consolidating, identifying direct links to lower Primary cross curriculums more evident. The MLP has had extensive media coverage (access links – 1, 2 , 3 ) and has developed a ‘digital footprint’ around various social media platforms – i.e Facebook (access link - 1) and websites (access links – 1, 2 ). Such marketing strategies have further assisted in the professional delivery and communication of the program. There is scope for Australia (South East Queensland) to design programmes which better reflect the full range of physical literacy components, social and emotional wellbeing and cognitive development of children in the Early Years, and therefore generate more of the associated benefits for Australia’s youth. Findings from this evaluation project go to legitimize the ongoing resource support (financial / administration / staff / marketing) for future development and wider implementation of the MLP across South East Queensland.en_US
dc.publisherGriffith University, School of Education and Professional Studiesen_US
dc.publisher.placeGold Coast, Queensland, Australiaen_US
dc.relation.ispartofbookorjournalEvaluating the Early Childcare MUNCHKIN LEAGUE Program: Learning Through Play An NRL Initiative
dc.subject.fieldofresearchEducational Administration, Management and Leadershipen_US
dc.subject.fieldofresearchContinuing and Community Educationen_US
dc.titleEvaluating the Early Childcare MUNCHKIN LEAGUE Program: Learning Through Play An NRL Initiativeen_US
dc.type.descriptionU2 - Reviews/Reportsen_US
dcterms.bibliographicCitationUsher, W, Evaluating the Early Childcare MUNCHKIN LEAGUE Program: Learning Through Play An NRL Initiative, 2017, pp. 1-14en_US
gro.hasfulltextNo Full Text
gro.griffith.authorUsher, Wayne T.

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