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The Healthy Habits Initiative

Audio based programs that deliver movement, yoga & meditation. Aligned with early childhood frameworks and supportive teacher resources.

Photo of Sarah Morrissey
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Written by

Name or Organization

Little Rockers Radio Pty Ltd

Geography

We are an Australian company currently piloting (3-months in) in Early Learning Centres. The program, in collaboration with Victoria University, is aligned with the Australian Early Years Learning Framework & supports children, educators & families. As it is audio based & online it is scaleable in Australia & the US. There's a need for high quality movement programming in Australia & the United States for early learners. Many programs focus on kids 5+ however starting younger is key!

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD

Type

  • For - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

The Healthy Habits Initiative is a fun & interactive audio based program that delivers movement, yoga & meditation to early learners. The programming is aligned to the early years learning framework in Australia (will need to be adaped for the US market) & comes with a full support package for teachers and carers to implement within the child care setting. The aim is to introduce structured activity and movement into children's daily lives & support child care centres in the implementation.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Currently child care centres have few options when it comes to delivering activity programs that focus on physical & mental health. The educators can deliver programs if they have the expertise, or centres can outsource to have an expert come into the centre weekly to deliver at a cost. A research backed audio program (aligned to early learning principles, adapted to childrens ages, that is also progressive) allows centres to run programs on a regular basis at times that suits them. The support package means child care educators can implement programming, supported by interactive, fun audio.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Technology-enabled: Existing approach is more effective or scalable with the addition of technology

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

We are online radio in Australia, with a core focus on children's mental & physical health. Having played yoga, meditation & movement exercises on air daily we saw the potential to take these fun audio programs and adapt them into an educational format that would mean more children nationally can be introduced to movement and mindfulness from a young age. The benefits of daily movement and meditation are very well documented - development of gross motor skills, self-awareness, socialisation, improved physical and mental health and the likelihood to continue to lead a healthy life - however, many programs don't focus on our younger children. The idea was to implement the audio in a program that could see children across the country getting involved, which is why we decided to launch it through early learning centres and align it to the early years learning framework. With child care centres implementing the programming more & more children could partake. To support the uptake & implementation the program needs to be well equipped with teacher resources and training helping teachers to feel comfortable and confident in implementing in their centres. The audio based programming then supports the implementation and guides the children in a fun and interactive manner. The idea has been rolled out in a pilot with support from Victoria University & the results have been outstanding. For the US the alignment to frameworks & audio needs to be updated & an initial pilot rolled out.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

School readiness through better development of gross and fine motor skills. Improved mental health not only as children but also as children grow through learning the benefits of daily physical activity and mindfulness. Improved physical health, giving children the tools from a very young age that will help them grow into happy and healthy grown ups that contribute to society.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

Programs are developed and written by Occupational therapists and early childhood experts. These programs are recorded in character voices that capture children's attention and guide them through movements, yoga and meditation. All audio programs come with visual representation for teachers that also show progression, so one child can partake in an activity at a level appropriate for him/her while another child can be shown how to adapt the activity to suit their needs. There will initially be 15 different programs, available through an online portal, that can be mixed and matched to suit the individual centres needs. Eg. one day they can do a short 10-minute activity, the next they can do a 10-minute activity plus yoga and finish of with a quiet meditation. Prior to any program implementation teachers are required to watch an educational video outlining the program, showing it in action and learning how the research best showed implementation. It is recommended teachers listen to the programming to become familiar with it prior to pressing PLAY for the first time with their children. Physical activity movements can include leaping like frogs, jumping, stretching, bending, squatting, etc. The yoga programming takes children on a journey through different settings and allows them to also use their imaginations as they roar like lions, swing like monkeys and stretch like snakes. The meditation programming allows children to unwind and again use their imaginations while they listen to the audio instructions. Children may go on a journey through the jungle or over calm waters while they learn to settle their bodies and minds. While these types of programs may be available on youtube they are not necessarily aligned to early learning, do not come with teacher resources for implementation and uptake and are not research backed. The audio programming will be updated on a regular basis based on user feedback. In the US the roll out would include an initial pilot in 20 centres that would allow updates based on user experiences and feedback.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

1. Children will benefit through improved health outcomes. Communities will benefit through healthier and more connected communities. 2. To date the experience has centred on the pilot program run in Australia with great success. Close to 300 children participated in the pilot. In Australia we have also run a fundraising disco through child care centres nationally and over the 3-years have had well over 50,000 children partake and dance to music. The experience on running this program and the connections made will greatly help with the implementation of the Healthy Habits Initiative. Our connections with Occupational Therapists and Early Childhood experts also means we can pull together a community of likeminded people to ensure the best programming is developed for implementation.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

We intend to have children throughout Australia and the US participating in these movement and mindfulness programs, leading to improved health outcomes for future generations. In Australia we anticipate 40,000 children will partake in year 1. In the US we anticipate similar numbers in year 1. By year 5 we plan to have over 1 million children participating in these programs in the child care space.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

Children in child care can all take part. The centres pay a very low annual fee to gain access and updates to the programs meaning all children within their facilities can partake and benefit from the outcomes. In Australia the annual subscription fee per centre will be ($199-$245), extremely affordable to centres to implement.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

Although the idea of physical activity is not innovative, it's a no brainer, putting it into a format that can be easily implemented through child care centres is innovative. The technology allows us t o effectively implement and roll out this program so we can have the impact we desire and have more and more children partaking in regular activity and mindfulness.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

As the idea is audio based and online there is no limit to the number of people that can participate. Previously the implementation of these programs has relied on outside experts however we are making the educators the experts with the support of audio and resources. Any centres, anywhere can run this programming with the right support in place. All they need to do is press play.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

There are plans in place for staffing and extra planning will be carried out to launch in the US. The financial model of subscriptions supports the implementation, ongoing servicing and program updates. Clear launch strategies are in place for the Australian market and will be adapted to also suit the US market. As we are currently an online radio station we have the capability and the tech to develop audio based programming and the online environment allows us to launch anywhere (whilst audio voice overs and adaptation will need to take place for individual markets).

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

We believe the business model is extremely feasible. The model works on mass numbers at a low cost in order to have as many children as possible participating. Barriers to entry can include lack of market understanding, not taking the time to research effectively, lack of understanding of the importance of physical activity and mindfulness from a young age. Lack of technical capabilities in centres is a big barrier to entry and initial piloting will help to ascertain how the hurdles can be overcome.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

The entire program has been developed based on feedback from educators, centre directors, researchers, children and families. We have not taken one step without asking for feedback and we intend to continue doing this so the program can be best adapted to suit centres and children needs. We want buy in from educators so they are much more likely to implement and therefore benefit children.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

I am a Mum of two, aged 11 and 9 and completely passionate about children's physical and metal health. I founded the online radio station 4 years ago and have built it up to being a trusted station for Australian families. I believe through innovation in the areas of health and wellbeing we can change the world.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

We will definitely be looking for ears on the ground in the US to help with the implementation of this program.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

Early childhood experts within the US as advisors would be fantastic! Centres director and educators as initial evangalists would be amazing!

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

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