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Your Child and Physical Literacy

Your Child and Physical Literacy

Update: 2018-09-10


Promoting Literacy of the Mind and Body

Teenage athlete with different kinds of sports balls isolated on white background

We usually associate literacy with reading books.  But what happens when we include a definition of physical literacy to include the way the body and brain interpret and react to the world and people around us?

The idea that there is only one kind of intelligence has been challenged, I would argue successfully, by many researchers. I've read that there are 9 different intelligences, 8 different intelligences... Emotional intelligence, visual spatial, verbal-linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal... Howard E. Gardner, an American Psychologist at Harvard writes a lot about this in his many published papers on the subject. If you want to read more, check out the resources section below. 

As I read child development materials like the stuff Howard Gardner wrote, I realize that so many of these intelligences are likely to improve as a result of youth sports. Think about this: What would happen if we place kids who are in the rapid intelligence development age range - from 3 years old to 8 years old - in a safe, three dimensional physical environment, populated by other kids, structured so as to provide clear objectives, and stimulated by others trying to achieve the same objective. What if we ask kids to interact with a physical object and one another, control the object with their bodies, work together to solve puzzles and problems, and wrap the whole thing in fun? The result? Physical literacy. 

Sounds like the perfect training ground for kids. Read the list of 8 intelligences written about by Professor Gardner. 

* Music-rythmic: does the game of soccer not require sensitivity to sounds and rythms? How about timing that run from the (sound of the) kick of a soccer ball such that your body breaks the offside plane after the kick, but just as the ball crosses into space in the opponent's territory?

* Visual-spatial: what soccer player can perform well without spatial judgment and being able to visualize two or three plays ahead in the mind's eye? Soccer is a thinking person's game & very strategic. 

* Logical-mathematical: What soccer player doesn't need to understand the underlying principles in a causal system? How can they play if they don't understand angles, what will happen if they fake left, pass right, and intercept the through ball? 

* Bodily-kinesthetic: What soccer player doesn't need to learn how to control one's body motions and their capacity to handle objects like a soccer ball skillfully? How about having a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, or the ability to train responses? 

* Interpersonal: How can a team gel unless players get in tune with team mates moods, temperaments, motivations, and abilities to cooperate and work as a group? 

* Intrapersonal: What soccer player doesn't spend time in self reflection and assessment? 

* Naturalistic: How about playing in all kinds of weather? What soccer player doesn't need to understand the relationship between wind and movement, heat or cold and body performance, nutrition and hydration and energy? 

Granted, I skipped existential intelligence and verbal-linguistic intelligence, but the seven other intelligences above are clearly enhanced by playing the game. 

Expanding Physical Literacy








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Your Child and Physical Literacy

Your Child and Physical Literacy

David Dejewski