College of the Rockies’ Physical Literacy Project Continues to Grow

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Image shows young children playing in a gymnasium, two in wheelchairs.
Students at Gordon Terrace Elementary school in Cranbrook participate in lunch-hour Inclusive Physical Literacy activities.

College of the Rockies has received another $25,000 RBC Learn to Play grant which will be used to expand the physical literacy work the College has been undertaking in conjunction with School District #5.

Representatives from the College’s Kinesiology and University of Victoria/East Kootenay Teacher Education programs participated in a physical literacy applied research study in 2014/2015. This study showed that the students who took part in lunch hour games aimed at improving physical literacy, did in fact, see progress in their skill levels.

“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life” (Canada’s Physical Literacy Consensus Statement, June 2015).  Children and youth need to engage in a variety of skills to help them develop fundamental movement and fundamental sport skills.  These abilities allow them the opportunity to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

The impressive results of the study led to the implementation of a physical literacy lunch hour games program that continues today in many elementary schools in School District 5.

Thanks to the additional RBC Learn to Play grant, the physical literacy project will move onto a new phase – one that focusses on inclusion.

“Our objective is to include populations that have not been able to participate previously,” says Sandi Lavery, Kinesiology instructor and lead researcher.  “We want to ensure that physical literacy skill development is available to all students at the elementary level, and to include older students into some new recreational activities as well.”

With the additional funding, the project is working closely with School District 5 on an afterschool program at Laurie Middle School for grades 7 and 8, in addition to continuing the lunch-hour games at six elementary schools in the district.  The kinesiology coordinators and School District staff are also working together to purchase a fleet of sport wheelchairs in various sizes that will be available to rotate through the schools and for the training of leaders.  Currently, 3 small sport wheelchairs from Interior Health are being utilized at the schools to help train leaders in how to incorporate inclusiveness in a gym setting.

The project coordinators also hope to expand their lunch hour games program to the Aqamnik School and to introduce and promote Aboriginal Sport for Life resources.

Additional plans for the grant monies include the development of Inclusive Physical Literacy manuals for schools to provide tips and ideas on adapting games and activities for those with special needs and how to incorporate multicultural games.

“We are so grateful to the RBC Learn to Play Project for continuing to support the valuable work we’re doing in the area of physical literacy,” says Jodie Pickering, Kinesiology instructor and co-researcher.  “We would also like to thank all of the partners who have helped with our projects to date, especially School District 5.”

Learn more about the Physical Literacy project contact Sandi Lavery at lavery@cotr.bc.ca or Jodie Pickering at jpickering@cotr.bc.ca

Find out more about Kinesiology and the UVIC/EK Teacher Education programs.