Together, Donna and Cam McColl established Happy Feet Fitness – a multi-award winning and highly effective program helping our youngest generation be holistically healthy children.
Happy Feet Fitness has successfully evolved the concept of play-based learning – finding the perfect balance between educational content, creativity, health and social development in our super fun themed adventure classes. Whether it’s a song and dance for preschool or fun exercises for kids’ fitness, all of their activities are uniquely designed to encourage participation, expression and social interaction.
To gain full insight into what makes Happy Feet so great, we asked Donna and Cam provides some insight to behind the scenes of their award-winning program.
How is Happy Feet aligned with early learning providers?
One of the truly unique things about Happy Feet Fitness is that we create all our own music, costumes, and content. This combined with our thorough understanding of the EYLF principals allows us to create a program aligned to the required learning outcomes set out by the framework.
Every one of our classes has original music that has been written and produced by us, and each themed adventure class is linked to the EYLF framework to help support centres and educators. To continue adding value and provide the best possible service, we are constantly evolving our business and creating new classes and fresh content.
What is included in Happy Feet’s service?
It’s really important to us that we provide an outstanding and valuable service that keeps families and centres wellinformed, connected, and excited about the children’s Happy Feet journey. Our ‘after care’ is important to us and is how we include the entire family! Families enrolled in Happy Feet receive weekly emails from their Happy Feet instructor sharing details of the class themes and activities as well as any other Happy Feet news. Individual photos in our costumes are taken throughout the year and gifted directly to the family as keepsakes.
We provide over 30 rotating class topics throughout the year. Because of the ongoing rotation, centres can plan future topics into their programming if they so wish. Additionally, the rotation makes sure that the children get to go on a brand-new Happy Feet adventure each week, and the excitement of trying something new every week maintains a very high level of engagement.
Each class features a Class Activity Sheet for families and educators, as well as an Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) Link Sheet for educators. The Class Activity Sheets enable families and to continue exploring the themes presented in class with their children when they get home, while the EYLF Link Sheet assists educators in linking our class content to the Early Years Learning Framework.
To ensure that the children and educators can continue to enjoy Happy Feet throughout the week, the Happy Feet “Fit Kids” download is also made available free of charge to centres. Additionally, each year, a complimentary 30-minute entertainment package is made available to all centres that run the Happy Feet program on a weekly basis.
What makes Happy Feet classes so magical and engaging for children?
We make our classes incredibly fun!! Creative original music with lyrics written to captivate young minds, combined with amazing hand-made costumes, bring our classes to life and take the children on awesome imaginative adventures via narrative, song, and creative dance.
Children shine the most when they feel like they belong, and our Happy Feet classes are a non-competitive, safe, happy environment in which all children can enjoy themselves in a world of active play. All Happy Feet classes have been created to maximise the fun factor, nurture a life-long love of physical activity, and allow children to experience the joy and vitality of moving to music.
How do you ensure Happy Feet’s service is maintained at the highest standards?
Maintaining the integrity of the business and the quality of our program has always been of the highest priority. We pride ourselves on having outstanding training, policies, and practises that have been continually updated over time to make sure that we are delivering the best possible service we can.
We also believe that giving back to our communities and volunteering our time as a company creates a sense of fulfilment, pride, and warm fuzzies in our team that can’t be underestimated. These positive outcomes impact our business by creating a sense of pride in what we do and unifying our teams through doing something positive and good in the world.
How many classes run each week across Australia?
We run over 1,200 classes per week with over 14,000 children enrolled in our program.
Where do you teach Happy Feet Fitness?
We are proud to say that our program now operates in seven states across Australia – WA, VIC, QLD, NSW, SA, ACT – and we’re excited to announce we are now also teaching in Tasmania.
In addition to improving young children’s health and fitness, our mission is to reach as many kids as we can while making sure they have loads of fun because research shows that children learn the most when they are engaged and enjoying themselves.
Why is the program so popular with childcare centres and other early learning services?
Happy Feet Fitness was created to be an incredible experience for children, but it was also developed to be a highly beneficial resource for early learning providers.
The “Gold Star” objective of centre owners, managers, and educators is to have their centre rated as exceeding the National Quality Standard (NQS). The Happy Feet Fitness program runs in many centres that are rated as “exceeding the NQS” and has helped them in achieving this incredible goal. Another important factor in Happy Feet’s popularity is the quality of the program we offer and how much children really enjoy it. Just have a peek at our Google reviews to see what a difference Happy Feet really makes. There just isn’t anything else quite like it.
What are the company’s greatest achievements?
We are very proud of our company’s culture. As Happy Feet began to grow it was crucially important to us that we could continue to look after our people while also nurturing the business through the massive expansion we were experiencing. This is strongly reflected in our staff retention with so many of our team having been with Happy Feet for eight to 12 years, some even longer. It’s also been really nice to be recognised with some fantastic awards along the way. Happy Feet Fitness has won awards for the program it delivers, the music it’s created, our amazing instructors, and the company’s business processes and innovations.
Happy Feet moving forward
The last couple of years have been challenging for everyone, and as business owners, we really felt the responsibility of trying to keep our business alive to continue providing jobs for all our amazing staff and instructors, as well as being there for the thousands of children to which Happy Feet brings so much joy. We would just like to say thank you to everyone for their incredible support and for welcoming us back as soon as it was possible. We really love what we do and feel so fortunate to work in an industry alongside so many other people who are passionate about our future generations.