RESEARCH: The Benefits of Physical Literacy for Children and Educators
A Reflection on Physical Literacy
Happy House Day Care, Cold Lake, AB
Our Physical Literacy Journey began the Fall of 2018 with our preschool aged children (2.5-3 years old). The concept of physical and gross motor play being integral to growth and development has always been rich within our centre. We also have a rather unique environment with larger classroom space, a gymnasium and plenty of outdoor activity areas to move our bodies and be creative about our use of physical play. With all that in place we were intrigued to see where the study would lead and the ways in which we would find improvements and positive correlation as tried out the Apple Seeds Program.
As an educator I found the APPLE Model straight forward to follow and implement in our planning. The Seeds activities provided were fun and easily adaptable to suit our children and age group. We started with adding our "physical literacy day" each week, which quickly grew into days and occasionally a whole week on some of the activities. We were amazed at how our perceived interest and actual interest differed or were directly on target from one case to the next. A prime example being the Hot Potato, Cold Potato plan. We allotted a shorter time frame for the activities thinking it would be an activity that would not hold interest for long. As it turned out the Hot Potato Cold Potato expanded into several days filled with a variety of potato expansions.
The most significant take away occurred to me as I was observing the children in their free play. Without our prompting they had created a game with aspects of organization. They had designated leader and follower roles and provided guidelines for the direction of the game complete with characters. They were cooperating with a clear purpose that they were able to communicate the complex details with those involved. This structure naturally happened in their play amongst giggles and shark impressions and I was amazed! I realized that they were not looking to the Educators to direct the imaginative play. The children had the ability, confidence and skills to fully take the lead independent of educator influence. The shift in their style of play corresponds with advancement of age but it also correlates with the Apple Model. This change in play is something we see with each group as the year progresses and they move from the side by side play in to a more interactive type of engagement with their peers. However, as educators we were more cognisant of this through the use and perspective of the Apple Model. I was impressed to see the model working through the children in such a positive way.
Thank you for including us in this study!
Thank you so much for coming to the Kids U locations and touring our facilities. I just wanted to let you know what an amazing impact that this Physical Literacy project has had on our programming at Kids U.
1. Achieving Goals
We are making it a goal at Kids U to meet the 24 hour Canadian Guidelines for preschool movement and physical literacy.
2. Movement Shelves
Our Montessori (left brain classrooms) and Reggio inspired (right brain classrooms) have embraced the opportunity to have movement materials in their rooms to enhance their curriculum. The teachers were hesitant to add movement for fear that the children would get loud or out of control, but found that it did help children’s focus, especially when the weather was too cold for the children to go outside in the winter. The teachers were supplied with copies of APPLE Seeds and Active for Life activities on how to provide fundamental movement skill education that is age appropriate for their classrooms.
Due to this success we are working on a plan to incorporate this in all 6 locations in Calgary, and will impact another 16 classrooms.
3. Sharing of Equipment
I was very excited to hear that there was more sharing of physical literacy equipment between classrooms. Our left and right brain classrooms were borrowing balls and balancing equipment to use to enhance the lessons in their classrooms.
4. Outdoor Equipment Bags
Our outdoor playgrounds have a variety of loose parts, but teachers were also asking for an outdoor bag of balls and equipment to enhance the outdoor experience!