“I did it!”
These are just a couple of things I hear on a regular basis during Phys Ed classes at Panorama Hills School. Over the past year, Mr. Fen-Mac and I have been working to build the physical literacy of our students on a daily basis.
What is physical literacy?
PHE Canada defines a physically literate person as one who can “..move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.”
Developing physical literacy is essential to providing children the ability to engage in physical activity later in life. By feeling confident in our ability (competence) to perform skills we are more likely to participate in new or familiar activities which keep us physically active. Our daily Phys Ed classes include building the ability of our students to maintain their balance, coordination and agility as they engage in activities which are not only fun and curricular based, but also target fundamental movements skills such as throwing, catching, running, jumping, etc.
One of our most popular Phys Ed units is gymnastics, which begins with individual and partner balances (stork stand, knee balance), incorporates new environments and equipment (balance beams, A-frame ladders) and culminates in a ‘spy school’ Mission Impossible course. In order to prepare students to be able to traverse all the obstacles we create, we began working with students on equipment such as balance beams and A-frames, which are typically saved for gymnastics units, right at the beginning of the school year. By allowing students the opportunity to build their confidence in crossing a balance beam that is on the floor during the beginning of the year, when they see one on the A-frames a foot in the air during gymnastics, they are much more likely to challenge themselves to cross the now challenging equipment. Our mission impossible course included beams, benches and A-frames that crossed under each other, were on different angles and a substantial height off the ground. Our students not only challenged themselves to cross the obstacles presented but did so using the skills and confidence they had developed earlier in the year and without any prompting or ‘hints’ from staff. I have to say it was the most enjoyable Mission Impossible I have ever been a part of.
For more information on Physical Literacy and Fundamental Movement Skills visit:
Jaskirat Atwal (@_jatwal) teaches Phys Ed in a K-3 school, promotes healthy and active citizens, loves food and sleep, would do anything for coffee or chocolate!