Prevalence and Relationships among Physical Activity Policy, Environment, and Practices in Licensed Childcare Centers from a Manager and Staff Perspective

Physical activity (PA) is critical to early childhood health and development, and childcare is a key setting for establishing physically active play. In British Columbia (BC), a provincial standard for active play in childcare was enacted, identified here as the Active Play (AP) standard. Pragmatic constraints limit real-world data collection for evaluating policy impact. We explored whether information about policies, practices, and the environment varied when it was collected from managers or staff. Surveys were distributed to BC childcare centers before AP standard enactment to ascertain current PA and fundamental movement skill policies and practices. The full sample (n = 1037 from 625 facilities) and a subsample of paired managers and staff (n = 261 centers) were used to explore agreement across managers and staff in reported prevalence and relationships among indicators. The policy prevalence and relationships for active play and outdoor play variables were relatively similar for manager and staff data, although the matched data had modest agreement and less than optimal intraclass correlations. The prevalence of manager-reported PA policies ranged from 47% for screen-time limits to 77% for fundamental movement skill activities. The manager and staff data highlighted indoor and outdoor space as a primary factor in AP standard adherence. With reliance on sampling staff unfeasible, it appears that the manager data may adequately describe the policies and practices of childcare providers with some notable issues.