Early Years physical activity and physical development has been a big part of Active Connections since 2011. We offer the Active Start training workshop and support package for early years settings and partners who are looking to increase the quality of physical activity in the early years sector. 

Active Start has been developed through working with Barnardo's, Bristol City Council, University of Bristol, NHS and other partners. The success of the programme is the cultural change it ignites in settings and personal awareness of physical activity for practitioners.

Active Start is currently part of the NAP SACC research. More information below.

Active Start training in action
Active Start team delivering activities as part of in house training
Everyone loves story telling!!


Active Start is a setting based training offer.  The workshop covers;

  1. The basics of physical activity and development
  2. The role of the practitioner, role modelling and priming
  3. Delivering high quality physical activity
  4. How to support fundamental skills development
  5. Creating ideas for physical activity
  6. Implementing physical activity into the day to day activities of the setting.


After the workshop the practitioners have  access to online support. Videos and worksheets are also provided to help the practitioners embed the learning into the setting. We also support settings to create their own resource and where possible share this on the Active Start platform. To create a live, 100% early years specific, child centred resource.

Active Start Programme

Active Start offers an effective physical programme for early years professionals, childminders, teachers and other professionals. Helping them to support the physical activity levels and physical development opportunities for young children. The programme starts with a 3.5 hour workshop. Support is then offered on an ongoing basis for 6 weeks over which the learning is implemented into the setting. Learners have access to the Active Start learning portal where they can ask further questions and share experiences.

Early Years Physical Activity Consultancy

The Active Start team have been involved in a number of commissions and programmes. Recognised as leading experts in the sector we have worked with;

  • University of Bristol
  • Barnardos
  • NHS Bristol
  • Dept of Health
  • 4Children

We are always excited about forming new partnerships to help make more young children reach their full potential. 

Currently the Active Start workshop has been incorporated into the NAP SACC research in 2022. The Active Start workshop makes up the physical activity component for early years practitioners, as part of the research. Read more about NAP SACC HERE. This is due to the success of the NAP SACC feasibility study in 2016-19 where the Active Start workshop was delivered to 6 nurseries across Gloucestershire and Somerset.


Active Start has a long history of working in the early years sector. Originally established in 2008 by Active Gloucestershire, Active Start went on to work in over 30 Children’s Centres and other early years settings across Gloucestershire. The aim was to support and up skill the early years workforce in to increase physical activity among young children.

Through this work, Active Start adopted a child-centered approach, which integrated the provision of physical activity into the day-to-day running of an early years setting rather than creating additional work for staff. It was developed closely in partnership with experienced early years practitioners to ensure that it met the standards required to be a useful resource for settings.

Now Active Connections is delighted to bring the knowledge and insight gained through Active Start and other projects into an easy to use, one stop portal for those working with young children. The portal will provide low cost, effective CPD opportunities, inspire through ideas and resources, and provide direct to child activity videos all with the aim of making children more active and develop life long physical skills.

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