Student & ECR Spotlight – Brianne Bruijns is training early childhood educators in physical activity

Please tell us about your career pathway to date (positions and institutes).

I am a PhD candidate in the field of Health Promotion at Western University in London, Canada. I graduated from my Master’s program in Health Promotion in 2018 (also at Western University), and completed my undergraduate degree in Physical Education at Brock University in 2016. Once I finish my doctoral degree in December 2021, I plan to continue in the Child Health & Physical Activity Lab at Western as a postdoctoral researcher.

What is your main research interest?

I’m interested in researching anything and everything related to promoting healthy movement behaviours among children in the early years (<5 years). However, my research to date has been largely focused on how the childcare environment can influence daytime movement behaviours of children in these settings, with a particular focus on early childhood educator training, practices, beliefs, and confidence relating to physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

How do you explain your current research/job to friends and family?

For my PhD research I developed an e-Learning course for early childhood educators in physical activity and sedentary behaviour, and measured how the course influenced their knowledge, confidence, and intentions related to promoting increased movement among children in childcare settings. The good news – the course was effective, and educators were highly positive about the course!

What could help you as a student/ECR to further develop/grow in your current position?

I think focusing on career development is crucial – especially in my final year of my PhD. Professional development opportunities that are tailored to various career paths (in and out of academia), as well as networking groups that connect likeminded researchers to foster collaboration would be beneficial.

Given unlimited funding, what would your dream research project be?

I would love to get involved with a birth cohort study focusing on measuring 24-hour movement behaviours during the early years and seeing how the type of childcare arrangement (parent care, home-based childcare, centre-based childcare, kindergarten) influences these behaviours over time.

If you’d like to get in touch with Briane, you can do so via email bbrui[email protected], Twitter @briannebruijns or LinkedIn @brianne-bruijns