Understanding physical literacy and what this looks like in schools

The National Sports Convention was held in Melbourne from 23 – 25 July 2019. During the Global Thought Leaders session on Day 2 of the Convention, the concept of physical literacy was discussed by panel member Pierre Comis, Director Physical Literacy Leadership at Sport Australia.

According to Sport Australia, physical literacy (PL) are the skills, knowledge and behaviours which give us the confidence and motivation to move throughout our lives. Physical literacy provides Australians with the opportunity to regain their freedom to move and therefore gain happiness and health through movement and physical activity.

Sport Australia recognises physical literacy develops throughout an individual’s life course. Given children and young people spend a large part of their early lives in schools, the importance of this setting in contributing to physical literacy cannot by underplayed. School is where most children develop their confidence and competence in movement and physical activity. This occurs explicitly during health and physical education and is further supported through intra-school and inter-school sport.

The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (ACHPER) is the leading member-based organisation focussed on the subjects of health education, physical education and outdoor education. We work with, and support teachers who are educating children not only about the importance and values of physical activity, but also educating children in the knowledge and skills pertaining to movement and physical activity. This is done through the provision of quality health and physical education in schools.

Sport Australia has identified physical literacy involves holistic learning through the development of skills across the four domains of physical, psychological, social and cognitive. Each domain is made up of individual elements. These elements are the required skills, knowledge and behaviours that enable development of physical literacy. The importance of physical literacy and the development of skills within the physical, social, psychological and cognitive domains has always been at the forefront of quality health and physical education curriculum in schools.

Teaching skills to increase levels of physical literacy supports whole-of-child development and movement for life. Sport Australia, in partnership with ACHPER has developed the 'Physical Literacy: Guide for Schools' which identifies the key components of a whole-school approach to the development of physical literacy in children, including characteristics of exemplary school practice.

Click here to learn more about the 'Australian Physical Literacy Framework' and here to access the 'Physical Literacy: Guide for Schools' >>

For further information, please visit the Sport Australia website or email the Physical literacy Leadership team at physical_literacy@sportaus.gov.au

ACHPER Victoria can support teachers to develop their content knowledge and pedagogical practices of these physical literacy domains and elements supported by the Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education.

If you have any questions or would like help implementing a high quality HPE program at your school which helps instil the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle and supports the development of physical literacy, please get in touch.