Dr. John Cairney wears many hats. He’s a professor in the kinesiology and physical education faculty at the University of Toronto, as well as director of the Infant and Child Health Lab at both U of T and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. He’s also the chair of Sport for Life’s research group for physical literacy.
It’s safe to say Cairney is an expert on the role physical activity plays in the health of children.
Active for Life editor-in-chief Richard Monette talked with Cairney about how he defines physical literacy, why he believes it’s just as important as other forms of literacy for overall child health and development, and how to help kids become physically literate.
As Cairney puts it, “We don’t just drop a book in a child’s lap and say, ‘Here you go, learn to read.’ We support their development and their reading habits and give them the tools that they need in order to be effective readers. In physical activity, we often sometimes assume that children just naturally have the skills that they need in order to be physically active, and we know from the research that that’s simply not true.”