What is Physical Literacy

Ability-Confidence-Desire-April 2016"Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life."
The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014

Physical activity is a lot more fun when we’re physically literate. If we want children to be active for life, they need to develop physical literacy at a young age. Physicalliteracy.ca offers coaches, recreation professionals and health practitioners access to a wide range of resources that can help people become physically literate.

Just as learning the alphabet is necessary to read, the development of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills is critical if children are to feel good about physical activity. The ABCs - Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed are the four skills that underpin physical literacy.

Physical Literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, allowing them to move confidently and with control in a wide range of physical activity situations. It supports long-term participation and performance to the best of one’s ability.

Physical Literacy is the cornerstone of both participation and excellence in physical activity and sport. Ideally, physical literacy is developed prior to the adolescent growth spurt. It has been adopted as the foundation of the Sport for Life concept in Canada.

Children should learn fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills in each of the four basic environments:

On the ground – as the basis for most games, sports, dance and physical activities.
In the water – as the basis for all aquatic activities.
On snow and ice – as the basis for all winter sliding activities.
In the air – basis for gymnastics, diving and other aerial activities.

Parents, caregivers, coaches, and teachers all play a role in the development of our children’s physical literacy. If these people do not fulfil their roles, we will not succeed.

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