HOW TO INVOLVE PARENTS IN THE PHYSICAL LITERACY CONVERSATION

Physical literacy stock photo

Written by Chris Fenlon-MacDonald, Provincial Education Coordinator, Ever Active Schools

WHAT IS PHYSICAL LITERACY?

The term ‘physical literacy’ is becoming more widely understood in school communities, especially as we strive to make tangible connections between physical activity and learning outcomes.

Canada’s Physical Literacy Consensus Statement defines physical literacy as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

It’s become more common to see classroom lessons embedded within the context of a game or physical activity, aimed at reaping the benefits that activity has on cognition. Even brief opportunities to move before a lesson can go a long way to increasing a student’s physical literacy. Every time a child has a positive movement experience, they gain a layer of motivation and confidence – integral components of being active for life.

However, being active for life isn’t just about experiences at school. Families can play a role in the education experiences of their children, including learning how to move and enjoy being physically active.

WHY ENGAGE PARENTS?

Evidence suggests parental involvement in their child’s education yields positive outcomes for the students, teachers and parents – so let’s consider how we can engage them in the conversation of physical literacy. Admittedly, when I was in teaching in a school, I sometimes found it challenging to fully engage with parents – especially when it came to physical activity.

That was until I connected with Active for Life.

Active for Life is a national non-profit organization that specializes in helping parents raise physically literate kids, and they’re keen to support us as educators in communicating the importance of physical literacy to parents. They have cleverly written, evidence based articles that speak to how physical literacy can live at home, and also offer a wide arrange of resources for parents (and teachers too!).

WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?

Here are a handful of articles that you may find particularly relevant to school communities:

And, here are some articles you may wish to share with your students’ families:

These articles could be shared in school newsletters, the school’s website or even through your own blog.

You can also encourage social media savvy parents to take the Parent Promise. This social media pledge asks parents to commit to making three practical changes at home that will support their children’s physical literacy development. The idea of involving parents in a pledge was a huge success, and this story highlights how one mother kept her Parent Promise.

Involving parents in the physical literacy conversation begins with taking proactive steps as an educator. When you do, you’ll find the importance of physical activity is an easier conversation to have when you cross paths with your students’ families.

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