Children who never learn to read or write become adults who can’t read or write.
Should we be surprised that children who never develop movement skills become inactive, uncoordinated adults?
A recent CBC story and news video suggests that children’s movement skills and physical literacy have been in steady decline in recent years. The failure to develop their movement skills subsequently reduces their interest and ability to participate in physical activity, and also limits their essential mobility skills into adulthood.
Dr. Dean Kriellaars, a leading expert in physical literacy and a professor at the University of Manitoba, points out that movement skills aren’t just for playing sports. Movement skills are essential to basic health and survival:
“It’s not just about sport. It’s about being able to even participate in a world that’s very cold and being able to not slip and fall,” said Kriellaars.
Some studies estimate that healthcare costs related to inactivity, smoking, and obesity will double by 2025. For anyone who cares about Canadian healthcare, it’s cause for concern.
Physical literacy is seen as a “vaccine” against the inactivity crisis.
Some communities are trying to promote physical literacy and physical activity in general by creating infrastructure and special programming. The New Brunswick community of Caraquet, for example, has started providing cross-country ski trails and ice surfaces at low cost to residents.
The overriding message is that physical literacy isn’t just for sports. It’s part of a spectrum of essential life skills that children need to live complete, healthy lives.