Parents, Teachers, and Community: A Dream Team Approach to Developing Physical Literacy in Children
Physical literacy is a multidimensional term that encompasses a person’s motor competence, knowledge, confidence (perceived motor competence), and motivation; all of which influence their physical activity levels. Previous physical literacy interventions have generally targeted only one setting where children are active, such as the school. Therefore, the purpose of my study was to assess the effectiveness of a 12-week home, school, and community-based physical literacy intervention on the physical literacy of children in kindergarten (~5 years of age) and grade one (~6 years of age). Eight kindergarten and grade one classrooms in four schools, matched for demographics, were assigned to receive the intervention (n=2 schools), or continue with their regular practice (n=2 schools; controls). The intervention included weekly activities that were sent home in a physical literacy backpack to be practiced with family, curricular-based physical literacy focused physical education classes, and biweekly physical literacy community nights. Physical literacy was assessed pre- and post-intervention in 103 intervention (41 female) and 83 control (36 female) children. An age-appropriate version of the PLAYfun was used and tested 10 different fundamental movement skills in the movement domains of run, locomotor, object control, and balance. Group differences were assessed with repeated measures MANOVA to evaluate change in physical literacy with alpha set at p<0.05. Both intervention and control children had greater overall motor competence post-intervention but children in the intervention group had a significantly higher overall motor competence when compared to controls (p<0.05). Children in the intervention significantly improved their motor competence for seven skills: skip, gallop, hop, throw, catch, kick, and balance (p<0.05). Children in the control group also significantly improved their jump, throw, catch, kick, and balance (p<0.05) motor competence from pre- to post-intervention. Children in the intervention group had higher motor competence for run, skip, gallop, kick, and balance (p<0.05) when compared to controls post-intervention. While children in the control group had higher motor competence for jump and throw post-intervention (p<0.05). A 12-week multi-setting intervention was found to improve the motor competence of kindergarten and grade one children. Future research is needed to evaluate if an intervention can also influence perceived motor competence, comprehension, and motivation.
Physical Literacy, Young Children, Physical Activity, Motor Competence
Master of Science (M.Sc.)