The development of physical literacy in children forms the building blocks for an active lifestyle that, in turn, fosters participation in lifelong health-promoting activities. Moreover, it can also help to reduce or prevent injuries over the span of their lifetimes.
As part of their collaborative Play Safe Initiative, the RBC First Office for Injury Prevention, in concert with Parks and Recreation Ontario and its HIGH FIVE Standard for children’s sport and recreation, recently conducted a study [PDF] involving approximately 200 leaders from recreation organizations throughout the country. Its purpose was to determine the level of knowledge children’s recreation practitioners have regarding these terms.
While many parents are starting to work on physical literacy with at home, it turns out many recreation practitioners across Canada have yet to fully grasp the concept. Nor do they all properly understand injury prevention, including the importance of education, altering an environment, or implementing rules for safe participation in an activity.
By failing to acquire a basic foundation of fundamental movement skills such as running, jumping, and throwing at a young age, children are at an increased risk of discontinuing participation in physical activity. It is therefore imperative that recreation practitioners gain a better understanding of physical literacy. […] Organizations working with children should consider modifying their programs to better incorporate physical literacy with injury prevention strategies.
The study also noted that reversing the current growth of sedentary lifestyles and child obesity rates in Canada make it increasingly important that kids develop the confidence and skills they need to stay physically active, a crucial role for properly trained recreation professionals.
Parents also play an important part in bringing about change. For as the number of moms and dads asking for PL programming grows, so too will the number of quality programs available.