Physical Literacy

What is Physical Literacy?

Physical activity is a lot more fun when we are physically literate. Learning to move is just as important as learning to read, write, and do math. The purpose of teaching children physical literacy is to increase their competence, confidence, and motivation to be physically active in many settings and situations. Physical literacy education begins by teaching children basic fundamental movement skills. Having these skills allows them to participate confidently in physical activities, and increases their chances of staying active later in life.


“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” – The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014

Physical Literacy in the Early Years

Just like we need to know our ABC’s and 123’s, we also need to have a movement “vocabulary”. In the early years, this would include things like grasping and crawling. As children develop and improve on these skills, they gain confidence and are more willing to try new activities. Having a variety of physical activities that they feel confident participating in and enjoy provides them with a foundation to live healthy active lifestyles.

Physical Literacy in School-Aged Children

As children grow, it is important that they continue to expand their movement “vocabulary”. Maintaining and building on these skills gives the children a strong foundation to become confident movers in the future.