What is PL's Connection to Physical Education?
In the world of academics, we often hear about reading or math literacy skills. Are you aware, though, that a different type of literacy, Physical Literacy, plays an integral role in our Thorson Physical Education activities and curriculum?
What is 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 is the foundation of 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.
Why is it important for students to be physically literate? A student who is physically literate demonstrates the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding of fundamental movement skills that establishes purposeful physical pursuits as an integral part of their lifestyle.
Research has shown that being physically active later in life depends on an individual's ability to feel confident and competent in an activity setting. That confidence most often comes from having learned fundamental movement and sport skills, or physical literacy, as a child.
Fundamental Movement Skills and Fundamental Sport Skills
To become physically literate children need to master the 13 fundamental movement skills:
The Locomotor and Body Skills: Walking, Running, Balance, Skating/Skiing, Jumping, Swimming, Cycling, Skipping
The Sending Skills: Throwing, Kicking, Striking
The Receiving Skills: Catching, Trapping
Each skill involves a series of developmental stages that a child goes through in order to master that particular skill. Fundamental sport skills involve using fundamental movement skills in a sport specific setting
(i.e. A child can kick a ball, which is a fundamental movement skill. When he/she kicks a penalty kick in a soccer game, he/she has used this skill as a fundamental sport skill)
The Four Environments
To develop physical literacy children should learn fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills in each of the four basic environments:
- On the ground: most games, sport, dance and physical activities
- In the water: aquatic activities
- On snow and ice: winter sliding activities
- In the air: gymnastics, diving and other aerial activities
Physical Literacy and Thorson's Physical Education Program
A wide variety of developmentally and sequentially age appropriate physical activities and assessments are introduced and refined throughout the kindergarten through 5th grade physical education curriculum to help students become more confident in their skill development and knowledge base.
Thorson's Physical Education program helps develops physically literate individuals through well-designed learning tasks that allow for skill acquisition in an instructional climate that is focused on enjoyment of movement, improvement and mastery.
Almond, L; Whitehead, M (2012). "Physical Literacy: Clarifying the Nature of the Concept". Physical Education Matters. 7 (1).