Elementary School

Physical literacy is elementary.

Elementary school children need to be physically active every day. From kindergarten to middle school, children need quality activity programs to develop the musculoskeletal and neurological structures that will support them for a lifetime of health and activity, as well as improved cognitive function and social well being.

The elementary school years span a period of important child development – physically, mentally and emotionally. Given that children spend most of their waking hours in school, our education system has perhaps the best opportunity to work on developing each child’s physical literacy. 

Many children who attend school may not have opportunities to join sport and physical activity programs outside of school. Through quality physical education programming, elementary schools can address this basic need for regular daily activity and consistent expertise in instruction. Structured and unstructured activities are equally important. 

Currently, there are serious challenges to delivering quality daily physical education in Canadian elementary schools: 

  • Few schools have physical education specialist teachers.
  • Constricted school budgets prevent hiring of physical education specialists.
  • The importance of daily physical education is not recognized in all school districts. 
  • There is little collaboration with other groups within the community to support sport initiatives and programming (e.g. recreation centres, sport clubs).