When many people hear the word literacy they think about being able to read and write. However, literacy is not just the ability to read and write but it also means to have competence and knowledge in a specific area. Having coached sport for over 10 years, completed a degree in Physical Education and been a subject leader in this area for 5 years, I have seen the importance that physical literacy has for young children.
The sporting diet that children receive at a young age will have a significant impact on their fundamental physical skills and their future participation in sport. Also, if a child has the skills to do something they will generally enjoy it more and that is the same across all subjects within education. As a child, I was thrown into every sports club that was available and I loved it. I was spotted as a potentially gifted swimmer and ended up representing my county. In judo at the age of 14, I won a silver medal at the national championships, qualifying me to represent Great Britain at a judo tournament in Holland. I have also taken part and enjoyed playing in a variety of other sports. I feel I am someone who could adapt and have a good go at any sport and that is because I have good fundamental sport skills.
In order for children to be able to take part in a range of sports they must have the fundamental skills. These fundamental skills are the subject of debate in the physical education professions, however generally the consensus is that throwing, catching, jumping, striking, running, kicking, agility, balance, and coordination are all vital in a child’s physical and sporting development. We are not trying to force children to be sport stars but we are trying to make sure that children enjoy sport because we know the huge benefits that it has to our health later on in life. Not only does sport benefit our health, but it is proven that it can have many positive impacts on many other areas.
What can school and PE do to develop these skills?
I obviously feel quite strongly about the benefits of physical literacy. In early school years (Foundation Stage and even going into Key Stage 1) the focus of physical education will be on these physical literacy skills. There is no point in doing specific sports with children at that age. It is better to equip them with the skills they will need so that later on they can be successful in a variety of sports. Not only are they learning the fundamentals of sport but they are doing it through fun games, so that don’t even realise it! At Arcadia Preparatoy School, our instructors focus on physical literacy training that can enhance the skills of the pupils. Arcadia is one of the best British primary school in Dubai that focus on developing the physical skills of the students.
What can parents do at home?
Play with your kids and have fun. Throw and catch games, an obstacle course around the house, kicking a football in the garden, going swimming – these are all ways to encourage and develop children’s physical development. Encourage and motivate children to have a go at new sports. Take them to sports clubs and if they like it keep taking them. If they don’t enjoy it then take them to something else.
“I’m not good at sport,” is one of the saddest statements I hear from children. Every child is good at sport, it is just finding the right one that can be difficult sometimes. Giving them the fundamentals and physical literacy will go a long way to them finding their calling.
Contact us to learn more about our physical education programme.