Physical Literacy

Physical Literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.
(International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014)
One of the goals of the Let’s Play Program is to help develop physical literacy.  Let’s Play increases physical literacy through a wide range of physical activities and modified games with the use of a sport wheelchair. Children must experience multiple activity opportunities in a variety of settings in order to develop physical literacy skills to their fullest potential.  The development of these fundamental elements in children has many positive outcomes, most importantly improved long term health and independence.
The use of a Let’s Play sports wheelchair improves physical literacy by supporting the development of:
  • Core abilities like strength, balance, coordination and flexibility
  • Movement skills like wheeling, sending, receiving, changing direction and stationary pivot type movements
  • Specific sport skills that can be used in games and play situations like passing, dribbling and shooting
  • Knowledge and understanding of what is going on around them in an activity setting and the ability to react appropriately
  • Confidence and understanding of how to work effectively with others to achieve common goals

Physical Literacy for Children with Disabilities 

Physical literacy for children with a disability is equally, if not more important, than for kids without disabilities. Many of the skills they learn are directly applicable to the real world environment they face in their daily lives. Popping a wheelie might sound like something cool to learn but it is also necessary to navigate bumps or curbs independently. These skills become important to their daily lives so that they can have fun with their peers, participate in school and recreation programs and compete in sport later in life if they choose.
It is also important for other kids and parents to become comfortable with the inclusive environment. Because kids learn so much by teaching and mentoring each other, a novel opportunity for both the child with a disability and the able bodied peer arise. We hope the physical literacy and social skills gained in inclusive environments will positively impact all those who participate in them.

It is important to note that early physical activity promoted by Let's Play is not focused on physical therapy, but on developing physical literacy in a fun and active play setting. In addition, daily physical activity should be provided to promote fitness and physical health. Organized physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day for toddlers and at least 60 minutes a day for preschoolers AND unstructured active play for at least 60 minutes a day and up to several hours per day should be provided for toddlers and preschoolers. Ensure that all activities are non-competitive and focus on participation. (Wheelchair Basketball Canada)