Examining the confidence and knowledge base of early childhood educators in physical literacy and its application to practice


Early childhood is a critical period for the development of physical literacy. An increasing number of children attend childcare facilities, where the majority of their day is spent under the care of an early childhood educator (ECE). To date, little is known about the confidence and knowledge base of ECEs in the area of physical literacy and its application to practice. Methods: An online survey was administered to ECEs in British Columbia to examine their confidence and physical literacy knowledge using multiple choice, likert-scale, and open-ended questions. The survey examined ECE knowledge of physical activity, fundamental motor skill patterns, and the capability to detect and correct movement errors. The ECE's were also asked to provide a confidence rating for this knowledge on a scale from 1 (not at all confident) to 10 (highly confident). Results: A total of 217 respondents were recruited and 78 completed the survey (77 F, 1 M). Most participants (82%) were employed currently at Early Childhood Education Centres and 49% of participants self-reported >16 years of experience. General knowledge for physical activity was high; however, the ECEs demonstrated low knowledge for identifying the source of common movement errors. Knowledge was also limited for identifying developmentally appropriate activities to correct the movement error. Overall confidence ratings were consistent across categories (mean = 6.5±1.9). Discussion: Low performance for the detection and correction of common movement errors in early childhood support a need for physical literacy training, despite ECEs reporting moderate confidence in the content area.

Acknowledgments: E Jean Burrows is supported by a CIHR Doctoral Research Award