Online tool provides simple assessment of physical literacy

May 14, 2015 5 Comments »
Online tool provides simple assessment of physical literacy

Over the past five years, physical literacy has become common parlance in physical education, activity, and sport. It’s become an accepted fact that kids need to develop skills and confidence in movement as much as they need to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Now we need to answer a new question. How do we measure physical literacy in children?

We don’t teach math and reading without periodic testing and assessment. Similarly, without the ability to measure physical literacy, we can’t know if a child has it, is developing it, or needs extra assistance to catch up with other peers.

A new online tool from the Heart and Stroke’s 60 Minute Kids’ Club provides one answer.

The Fundamental Movement Skills Assessment Tool is a free online resource designed to help generalist teachers and community coaches to measure physical literacy in children. It simplifies the terminology and methods of assessment to make it easy to get a basic snapshot of each child’s degree of skill in throwing, jumping, catching, hopping, and more.

The tool promises to be a great help to minor sport organizations and teachers. For starters, it helps coaches, instructors, and teachers to understand proper verbal cues and terminology when they teach fundamental movement skills to children. Having taught the skills, it also makes it easy for them to assess those same skills in each child.

The Assessment Tool is one part of a suite of resources that help coaches and professionals to Assess, Show, Teach, and Activate kids’ fundamental movement skills. Other components include short FMS videos where kids demonstrate skills such as throwing, jumping, and catching at different stages of development. Each video is linked to lesson plans for teaching that particular skill, provided by Active for Life.

All of these resources can be easily accessed by computer, tablet, or smart phone.

The FMS Assessment Tool has been developed through the generous support of premier founding sponsor TELUS and collaboration with Active for Life and other physical literacy experts and advisors across Canada. Its purpose is to increase childhood development of physical literacy across Canada, en route to creating a healthier population through greater levels of competence, confidence, and participation in physical activity and sport.

To learn more about the FMS Assessment Tool, start by reading the introduction on using the tool, and then head over to the Tools page. To make the best use of all of the free tools, teachers and coaches should also sign-up for the FMS App. If you are registered, you’ll be able to setup your own custom database for monitoring, recording, and supporting the week-by-week development of your kids’ fundamental movement skills.

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5 Comments

  1. Jared Kope May 21, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with you both as why assessments at that age is difficult and needs to be looked at differently; however, Blaine, we also need to remember that assessment based on age isn’t solely problematic for 0-5 years. Creating physical literacy metrics based on an individuals age is problematic across the lifespan. Two 10 year old children can have a varying degree of competence in certain fundamental movement skills, where we should still honour kids that are “developing at their own pace, and on their own schedule”. It comes down to “time on task” and fostering those environments where both 10 year old’s — or any age for that matter — can have enough quality time to learn certain tasks; their age, to some degree, is irrelevant.

    • Blaine Kyllo
      Blaine Kyllo May 21, 2015 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      Completely agree, Jared. Individual differences can be much more pronounced at younger ages, though, which is one reason we don’t have assessment tools for those age groups. You’re right, though, that even older children should be able to progress at their own pace. Every good child-centred model of coaching and teaching will respect and honour the abilities of each kid.

  2. Katie May 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Is there a similar resource for children 0-5 years?

    Thanks!

    • Jim Grove
      Jim Grove May 20, 2015 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Hi Katie,
      I’m not aware of any similar tool for ages 0-5 years. The preschool years represent very early stages in development, so it is problematic to imagine “assessing” something that has barely started to develop. That is, many of the essential building blocks behind fundamental skills are simply not in place yet–the human organism is not “ready” yet– so it would be unfair to try to assess a child in anything much more than walking. At these early ages, parents and educators should simply focus on ensuring that children are active every day, so they are developing the building blocks of movement skills. We call them the ABCs of movement–and the key ones at this early age are Balance and Coordination. (The other two are Agility and Speed.) If we were to assess anything at this early age, it would probably be balance and coordination. This would only be done if there was a concern that the child might have a developmental issue. If so, the assessment should be done by a medical professional.

    • Blaine Kyllo
      Blaine Kyllo May 20, 2015 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Katie, the other thing to remember with children between 0 and 5 is the degree to which each kid develops at their own pace, and on their own schedule. Some kids walk at 9 months, others walk at 14 months. It’s important to let children develop on their own schedule because if they appear to be “slow” developing one skill, it’s usually because they are developing another. Perhaps the child slow to walk is more advanced in grasping and manipulating objects with the hands and fingers, for example. That’s another reason that assessments at that age are reserved for diagnosing developmental delays.

What do you think?