The Centre for Healthy Development through Sport and Physical Activity (CHDSPA) at Brock University received a $164,000 grant from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
The funding will be used to learn more about how to develop and assess physical literacy among children and youth in Ontario.
Ken Lodewyk, who is the co-director of CHDSPA and an Associate Professor in Kinesiology, said “physical literacy is basically ones motivation, competence, awareness, and confidence for meeting personal movement goals such as being regularly physically active. To increase physical literacy, we need to know more about the physical literacy levels of Ontario children and youth particularly in relation to new training and assessment initiatives for sport and physical activity providers.”
In the project, the centre will partner with Canadian Sport for Life to discover more about the physical literacy levels of children and youth (aged 7-17) in sport and recreation programs of Ontario, how those levels change over two years, and how they can be improved through quality assessment, training and programming.
The primary investigators for this research are Lodewyk and James Mandigo (Interim Dean, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences).
“Through the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund, we are supporting increased opportunities for participation, building physical literacy as the foundation for lifelong activity, and strengthening the capacity for the sport and recreation sector,” explained Michael Couteau on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
The research will focus on developing key measures through the Physical Literacy Assessment for Youth (PLAY) tools. The PLAY tools are a battery of assessments designed to chart levels and changes in physical literacy in both research and practitioner settings.
For example, the PLAY fun tool assesses 18 related aspects of physical literacy like object control, locomotion and balance. PLAY-Self, PLAY-Coach, PLAY-Parent and PLAY-Inventory are self-reports of aspects of physical literacy such as one’s motivation for physical activity and one’s ability to be active in multiple environments
The specific aims of the project are to review the effectiveness of PLAY training in approximately 300 practitioners (e.g., coaches, recreation leaders) by having them complete a post-training assessment of its effectiveness. These practitioners and sport organizations from a variety of communities have chosen to adopt PLAY independent of the research project.
In addition, the project will assess the physical literacy levels of over 3000 children (ages 7-17) and youth in a variety of settings using the PLAY data collected through the PLAY trained practitioners. Finally, aspects of the validity of the PLAY tools will be assessed by comparing results from its use in this project to a sub-sample of 50 participants who also completed several items from a standardized assessment of movement proficiency.
Overall, the program will evaluate changes in participants’ physical literacy over the two years of the study, will help to determine features of programs that relate to more pronounced changes in the physical literacy levels of child and youth participants, and should help guide future tracking of physical literacy.