What Is 'Physical Literacy'?
Put simply, physical literacy is the skills, motivation, confidence and knowledge to be active.
And why is this so important?
Well, the fact is that Australian children – alongside children from across the world – are spending more time playing indoors and on screens than outdoors and in the park.
As a result, they are increasingly failing to develop the basic building blocks of movement.
These include running, throwing, kicking, catching, jumping and balancing.
The challenge now is for children to not only develop these skills, but to positively want to be physically active – and to understand why regular physical activity is so important to their future lives.Which is precisely what KIDDO is here to do.
Physical Literacy: Lessons that Last a Lifetime
The fundamental movement skills you learn as a young child can have a significant impact on the rest of your life, through school and into adulthood.
Here are 3 typical stories that highlight how physical literacy in early childhood can affect the rest of your life.
Meet Sally - ”Happy to say I’m just as active now as I ever was.”
Sally leads an active life. Always has. Ever since she can remember, she’s enjoyed all kinds of sports. Things like running and swimming. Playing hockey and netball. Today she’s very healthy. And very happy.
My earliest memories are of being taken for swimming lessons when I was 3. Can’t remember what I was taught, but I can remember that the water was always freezing! I went to child care three days a week and used to love playing in the sandpit and all the other equipment the teachers put out for us. Weekends were special too … lots of trips to the park running around with the dogs.
By the time I got to primary school, the water seemed less cold! Still had swimming lessons, now once a week. On Saturday mornings, my parents enrolled me into a fun multi-skills program for kids aged 4-7. I got to try lots of different sports … hockey, tennis, running, netball, stuff like that. We had PE at school too. It was one lesson a week, and we got to try lots of cool new things, like orienteering and Ultimate Frisbee. Loved that! I joined the school hockey team in Year 3 and also the local netball team, we trained after school on Wednesday nights, my mum was the coach (which I secretly loved) and I made a heap of new friends!
I’d really got into netball by now, and was playing for my local club and training once a week. Still did swimming squads in the summer, and lots of beach trips with my friends. Always loved PE and loved trying different sports at school. Volleyball was one of my favourites, and I even gave Zumba a go! Chose PE as a subject in Year 11 and 12.
Happy to say I’m just as active now as I ever was. Play mixed social netball once a week. Take the dogs to the beach every week. And when it’s not raining (which is most days) ride my trusty pushy to work!
Meet Chen - ”These days, I’m pretty inactive compared to what I used to be.”
As a child, Chen’s life was always based around football … the soccer variety! He was playing it ever since he was able to walk. And even though he’s hung up his boots now, he still loves watching every Premier League game on TV.
I seem to remember going to swimming lessons when I was little, but my standout moment was enrolling in toddler soccer when I was 3! Always loved kicking the ball in the park with Dad. I went to child care four days a week. If I wasn’t playing football, I’d spend most of my time inside playing with the toys.
By the time I was five, I’d joined my local soccer club … which meant mid-week training and weekend games all year round. I also had swimming lessons once a week. Still used to spend time with Dad kicking a ball in the park at weekends. Also started to get into computer games … especially FIFA! We did PE from Year One which I always enjoyed. I wouldn’t have minded trying out cricket, but soccer took up all my time!
Was a fairly decent swimmer at this point, and competed in the interschool swim team. By now I’d been picked for a soccer club development team. We trained three times a week and played every weekend. I did PE at school till year 10, but was hesitant to try out other sports because I had no real experience in them … and was not really confident enough to give them a go. In Year 11 I did something I never thought would happen … gave up soccer! Stopped swimming too, because all I wanted to do was play video games and spend time with my mates.
These days, I’m pretty inactive compared to what I used to be. I don’t really participate in any regular sports activities, although I often think about how good it would be to get a five-a-side team together with a few mates. Still love watching soccer on TV. That will never change!
Meet Jen - ”I guess being ‘sporty’ just isn’t in our genes.”
Jen was never very active, even as a young child. She remembers how other children always seemed to be better than her at school sports, and as her confidence began to shrink so too did her participation in physical activities.
I don’t really remember much of my pre-school days. Certainly can’t remember learning how to do things like catch a ball or use a skipping rope. It was mainly toys on the play mat and craft, really.
Now this is one thing I definitely do remember … coming last in my running races at the school carnival and not getting picked to take part in the team games because I wasn’t good enough! So while most of the other kids were outside winning ribbons I was reading a book and thinking of excuses to miss the next carnival,
I remember we did PE once a week. It always seemed really competitive to me, and by now I was ultra-embarrassed about making a fool of myself in front of my class mates. I’d always sit out the PE lessons when I could. And when I was 15, I decided to drop PE completely. I’d never been sporty and I just didn’t enjoy it. Much preferred to be socialising with my friends.
I spend long hours at work sitting at my desk. And I’m always worn out when I get home. My weight’s been steadily increasing ever since I was at school. I’d love to do something about it … join a social sports team or something like that … but those old memories about being no good at it always seem to come back. The scary thing is I look at my young daughter and she’s already starting to look just the same … not liking PE, things like that. I guess being ‘sporty’ just isn’t in our genes.
It’s Time to Take Action
To find out more about how you can help build the physical literacy of your kid(s) or student(s) we welcome you to get in touch.
We have programs tailor-made for schools, early childhood and care education centres and other sporting clubs and organisations.