In this study, we aimed to explore early childhood educators’ conceptualisations of physical literacy and how these are integrated in their teaching practice. To this end, we used a mixed-methods embedded design, with a primarily qualitative component that is supported by quantitative data (QUAL + quan). Participants consisted of class teachers (n = 26), head teachers (n = 8), and principals (n = 11), who participated in interviews and responded to questionnaires. Qualitative data were examined using thematic analysis, and quantitative data were analysed using non-parametric statistics. Early childhood educators articulated an incomplete conceptualisation of physical literacy and reported low awareness of the concept. While the concept is relatively novel to early childhood teachers, integration of physical literacy in teaching practice was found to encompass the inter-related physical, affective, cognitive, and behavioural domains. Availability of resources, teacher training, education policies, family environment, and community environment were found to influence the development of physical literacy in early childhood settings. We recommend that education policies be reviewed, and systems-based support be provided to enhance teachers’ capabilities, as well as family and community environments. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.