Physical literacy in early childhood educators


The preschool years are a critical time for physical literacy and activity behaviours, key components of early motor development, and early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings are potential targets to promote engagement in these behaviours. Physical literacy is a holistic viewpoint from which to examine the multiple factors that may influence individual physical activity participation. The purpose of this project is to assess the physical literacy of educators and determine which components of physical literacy are associated with behaviours and intentions to provide physical literacy and activity opportunities to children in their care. Employed early childhood educators (n=94) were recruited to participate. Motivation, confidence, knowledge, understanding, physical competence and physical activity were assessed using existing measures or measures created specifically for the study. Overall educator physical literacy was moderate, except for understanding (mean=4.2/5) and physical activity behaviour (steps/day=11,832). Intentions and behaviours were high (mean range=4.2-4.5/5). Significant main effects were seen for understanding and object control skills with a select number of intention and behaviour questions, but no relationship was seen for the remaining components of physical literacy. While measured physical literacy was moderate, this was not associated with on intentions and behaviours for the provision of physical literacy and activity, which were high. Further research is needed to determine if educator reported behaviours translate into quality physical literacy and activity experience in ECEC and sustained physical literacy and activity for children attending ECECs.

Acknowledgments: E. Jean Buckler was supported by a CIHR Doctoral Research Award