Monday, October 10, 2011

What is physical literacy?
Most of us already understand the importance of literacy and numeracy skills. But how many of us understand the term, physical literacy?

Julie Rotchell of Sport Wales explains all...

Physical Literacy can be described as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to maintain physical activity throughout the lifecourse.’
Margaret Whitehead 2010

To explain this, it is useful to use an analogy with literacy...
When a child is learning to read they first learn individual words such as cat, sat and mat. And when a child is learning physical skills, they learn how to run, jump, catch and throw.
Children then put words into sentences and read them; just as they string movement phrases together when performing the long jump, riding a bike or swimming. As we become more experienced, we understand the meaning of books and inspire to gain knowledge and pleasure from reading. This is also the case with physical literacy.
We continue to develop enjoying a wide variety of sports and understand the importance of taking part. We may at times prefer a certain type of book like science fiction or romantic comedy likewise with physical literacy we might enjoy different sports at different stages.

The key point is that we are confident to participate in a variety of sports as we have learned important physical skills from a young age.
The support of parents in helping their children to read and write cannot be underestimated. It is also true in physical literacy. Just as parents (and librarians, teachers and other volunteers) support and listen to their children read, we want the same support of young people as they develop their physical literacy. It might not happen overnight but it's something we're working towards.
Parents can find out how to help support children as young as three on our Play to Learn website. And find out how one Mum is getting her children active.
So who is Julie Rotchell?
Julie started her career as a PE teacher at Haberdashers Monmouth School for girls. After two years she was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to teach in Barbados where she remained for twenty years.
On her return, she became involved with Sport Wales as a PE & School Sport Coordinator in Blaenau Gwent. After a short time she moved to Sport Wales’ offices in Cardiff and is now a manager.
Julie is a golf addict and can often be seen in all weathers tackling the hills at her local club in Monmouth.