Articles de revue
Journal of Research in Childhood Education
Early childhood educators are key players in shaping young children’s active behavior. However, their involvement in children’s physical activity (PA) may vary along a continuum, ranging from active participation to distant supervision. This qualitative study sought to explore how childcare directors and early childhood educators (ECEs) perceive early childhood educators’ role in children’s PA. Data collection included 12 semistructured interviews (nine ECEs and three directors) that focused on three aspects defining the role: the expected role, the role played, and the desired role. The thematic analysis revealed that ECEs value PA but understand their role as professionals in varying ways due to unknown expectations. They identified their planning and motivation as solutions to promote PA; yet professional freedom hinders change in practices. Overall, discrepancies exist between the expected, played, and desired roles. Results are discussed from an ecological perspective and suggest improving communication between ECEs, parents, and directors to increase children’s PA levels and strengthen ties between the homes and childcare centers.