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What is Physical Literacy?

Physical literacy is “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that individuals develop in order to maintain physical activity at an appropriate level throughout their life” (Whitehead, 2010).

A physical literate child is able to move capably and confidently in a range of physically challenging situations, is able to read the physical environment, anticipating possible movement needs, and is able to respond intelligently and imaginatively. Additionally, a physical literate child will understand the benefits and importance of daily physical activity and will seek opportunities to participate in sports or activities either recreationally or competitively.

In contrast, a child who has not yet developed a high level of physical literacy will seek to avoid physical activity wherever possible, have minimal confidence in their physical ability, and will not be motivated to participate in structured physical activity (Whitehead, 2010)

Physical literacy can be developed in early years by learning fundamental movement skills in a safe and positive environment. Some example of fundamental movement skills include:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Catching
  • Throwing
  • Striking
  • Swimming