Developing Physical Literacy Through Small Sided GamesOur son and his community rep Under 12 soccer team were asked to be ball people at the University National Men’s Soccer Championship last fall, hosted at the University of Toronto. The boys assumed their roles with excitement and awe as they stood by the sidelines with a soccer ball in hand; ready to throw into the play when indicated by the referee. Driving home I asked my son, “how did you like that experience?” He was quick to answer that they were all told not to fidget or play with the soccer ball on the sideline and to be ready at all times. He then added, mom, doesn’t that person know that “Kid + Ball = Play!” As a former physical education teacher and now educator involved in Physical Education Teacher Education, I smiled and thought to myself… what a tag line to aspire to… providing all children and youth with the competence and confidence to move their bodies, have fun and keep active! In a time when our children and youth are living very sedentary lives, when play is almost becoming extinct and sport is becoming very specialized at an early age and less accessible to many, it begs the question; What is the role and purpose of Physical Education in schools and communities in the 21st century? As a course instructor of pedagogy for Health and Physical Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University in Toronto, I challenge my beginning teachers with this very question as they engage in teaching and learning experiences that will contribute to their understandings as teachers. Two very influential bodies of research and practice are the notion of physical literacy and curriculum model, Teaching Games for Understanding. Physical and Health Education (PHE) Canada defines physical literacy as, “Individuals who are physically literate move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person
- Physically literate individuals consistently develop the motivation and ability to understand, communicate, apply, and analyze different forms of movement.
- They are able to demonstrate a variety of movements confidently, competently, creatively and strategically across a wide range of health-related physical activities.
- These skills enable individuals to make healthy, active choices that are both beneficial to and respectful of their whole self, others, and their environment.” (Mandigo, J., Francis, N., Lodewyk, K. & Lopez, R. 2009).
- Video Link that describes the connection between physical literacy and physical education http://www.phecanada.ca/programs/physical-literacy/video-connecting-physical-literacy-and-physical-education
- Great TGFU website with tons of small sided games http://www.opheaprograms.net/playsport/ (Note it is under construction right now but some supports still available)
- Game On: Ready to Play, Physical Literacy Resource for Elementary Schools http://thompsonbooks.com/books/k-12/functional-fitness-circuit-charts-intermediate-grades-7-9.html
- Beyond the Fundamentals – A Games Approach Resource http://www.phecanada.ca/store/books/fms-series-1/beyond-the-fundamentals-a-games-approach-1.html