Regular physical activity is an essential component to health and wellbeing as an adult, and it is one area that we have complete control over. This component starts at a young age, whereby learning the fundamentals of movement and developing a positive attitude to physical activity and sport, individuals can gain the skills, experiences, and attitudes to take part in physical activity and sport throughout their lives.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every child should be active at a moderate to vigorous intensity for at least 60 minutes PER DAY. Given the positive cognitive effects that physical activity can have; it is imperative that each child is afforded the opportunity to be physically active for both physical performance (in sport) and also cognitive performance (in school).
We aim to develop physical literacy in every child. Physical and Health Education Canada has defined physical literacy as:
“Individuals who are physically literate move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.”
Physical literacy is the foundation block for lifelong involvement in physical activity and sport. There are three stages in the quest for physical literacy:
- Active Start: this phase focuses on providing children with opportunities to participate in physical activity. Active start promotes movement and communication, both with other children and coaches.
- FUNdamental phase: the purpose of this phase is to learn fundamental movement skills, develop social and mental attributes associated with physical activity and to lay foundations for the development of physical literacy. As the name of this phase suggests, there is a huge emphasis on children having fun. We want to see children laughing and smiling while they are developing. If you follow our facebook page, you will be aware that there is nothing brighter than a child’s smile.
- Learning to Play and Practice phase: this is the final part in developing physical literacy and the focus is to learn overall sports skills and specialized movement skills. The FUNdamental emphasis remains throughout and to develop true physical literacy, this is done through a multi-sport approach. Children continue to develop the social and mental attributes associated with physical activity and sport.
From the development of physical literacy, children have the necessary skills and attribute to go on to further develop physically and compete at a high level of sport, but also to remain physically active for the rest of their lives and have a good quality of life. For example, obesity is one of the biggest issues of the current generation worldwide. There are numerous other health complications that can arise as a result of obesity; it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss these complications. Prevention is better than cure and by developing physical literacy in children, we are equipping them with the skills to live a healthy life throughout their childhood and beyond into adulthood.
The environment and culture here in Singapore does not always promote best practice in health and wellbeing terms. We are striving to provide children with a safe and fun environment to develop not only physical literacy but also life skills, to give them the best opportunity to live a life they love.
Will is one of the founders of Sport4Kids (now ProActiv Sports) in Hong Kong and was the driving force behind bringing it to Singapore in 2014. Will obtained a degree in Sports Science and Health, from Dublin City University and has vast experience coaching children and adults of all level and abilities. Will is experienced at coaching in a wide variety of sports with a particular interest in Soccer, Basketball and Gaelic Football. He is also a very keen sportsman having represented Ireland in underage basketball and Gaelic Football.