A student from Newfoundland, Canada contacted be via Charlie Dixon’s Therapeutic Recreation Directory’s facebook group. She had questions about physical literacy for one of her assignments. I sent her a reply email with my answers on the subject. I wanted to post those answers here for you to read as well.
Physical Literacy Questions
- How would you define physical literacy?
I did go to google to do a quick search for “physical literacy.”
I regret to say that I was not very aware of the term, “physical literacy.”
I think the definition at Wikipedia is probably accurate:
Physical literacy is a fundamental and valuable human capability that can be described as a disposition acquired by human individuals encompassing the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that establishes purposeful physical pursuits as an integral part of their lifestyle.
- How does your agency aid in promoting physical literacy in your community?
I work at a psychiatric hospital. We assist individuals with various mental/ behavioral health needs. We don’t directly promote physical health and wellness. However, there are several things we do:
Our recreational therapist do provide trainings during rec therapy month on the importance of recreation (including physical health and wellness) for the staff at our facility. People in the community have been invited to attend these trainings.
We also offer contest at our agency such as: ping-pong championship for staff.
Our hospital is supportive of staff by encouraging fitness activities. WE have a company softball team. Several staff are cyclist and runners.
- Do you feel that physical literacy is an important concept? Why or why not?
I think it is important because it helps people to maintain and promote optional health and wellness.
- Do you feel that children are more or less physically literate than children in the past?
I regret to say that I don’t know of any research right off.
It does appear that more children have given up “outdoor play and recreation” in order for electronics (video games, internet, etc)
There also appears to be a growing epidemic of children with obesity needs in the United States.
- What kinds of programs would be beneficial for the implementation of physical literacy in more ground-level recreation programs?
Physician supervised and recommended is probably best.
Provide useful education on the benefits.
Provide opportunities for physical activities for various age groups and needs.
- Do you feel that Newfoundland and Labrador has a good infrastructure for implementing physical literacy programming?
I regret to say that I don’t have much knowledge of Newfoundland.
I would like to disclose that the only grandfather who I knew was from Canada! He fought in WWII as infantry for the United States. He volunteered at the V.A. hospital for many years – where he met my grandmother who was volunteering there. Both of them assisted with their recreational therapy preprogram and services.
- Do you feel that many recreation practitioners are aware of physical literacy?
I feel confident that all recreation practitioners are aware of the concepts of physical literacy.
- What could be done to improve the conversation around physical literacy in Canada?
Marketing, Advocacy efforts, teaming up with other professionals, hosting special events.