Physical literacy for kids

Gym class isn’t just for athletes, this is functional fitness. An example of a shift in thinking about physical education at Hamilton’s Westmount Secondary School.

For the younger set, there is also a change in focus. It’s now purposeful play.

“We want to make sure they’re developing those lunging patterns, those squatting patterns, those carrying patterns that will teach good habits as they move forward. One of the number one issues around safety at work is about the lower back. The technique for improper lifting is really what it’s from,” says fitness consultant Mark Verbeek.

Verbeek is part of a group launching Hamilton’s first summit on physical literacy. A movement to encourage life long activity.

“You wouldn’t teach a kid how to read without teaching him the ABC’s, so when you’re talking about life long movement you want to make sure they have those foundations at a young age so they can make those choices to participate or to be competitive.”

Verbeek says it’s not about turning everyone into an elite athlete. It’s about making sure kids learn basic movement like running, jumping, lunging and throwing.

“That ability to have that movement competence, to have the self confidence, the self esteem and the foundations to participate in multiple environments, whatever they choose.”

The summit is geared for anyone who guides or mentors children. parents, teachers, coaches, even operators of early years centres.

“We had a number of people that came to the committee that want to be involved. So the interest is there. I see this as a catalyst for moving forward. So that we’re breaking down some of those silos. That we’re going to continue to work together for a common goal to increase physical literacy levels for children,” says Alison Bochsler of Hamilton Public Health.



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