Symposium presentation #1: Movement for life! Promoting physical literacy in the early years


Adults need to understand the significance of physical literacy in the early years to assist young children in developing a love of being physically active (Newport, 2013). Activity patterns established between birth and 6 years of age are an indicator of levels of physical activity for the next five years (Jones et al., 2013). Taylor and colleagues (2009) suggested that activity levels in young children can start to decrease at age 3. As such, supporting young children to engage in physical activity in their early years is important. Caregivers during those early years, including early childhood educators, serve as role models and are the gatekeepers to providing physical literacy development. However, Whitehead (2010) and Clark (2014) argue that early childhood educators may not recognize the importance or give attention to movement skills in young children, as they tend to focus on language, numeracy, social, and emotional skills development. Thus, increasing early childhood educators' understanding and promotion of physical literacy is necessary to improve the opportunities to develop physical literacy in young children. This presentation will focus on the role that adult caregivers play in the development of early childhood physical literacy. Specifically, the collaborative considerations between the City of Winnipeg and University of Winnipeg researchers regarding this issue and the subsequent creation and implementation of an evidence based physical literacy education program for adult caregivers (highlighting early childhood educators) of infants, toddlers, and preschool children will be discussed.

Acknowledgments: The City of Winnipeg Department of Community Development and Recreation Services