Archive for month: May, 2023

When it comes to physical literacy development, there’s no substitute for time.

As educators, it’s important to be aware of the role that a student’s age plays as they learn fundamental movement skills. We may end up with students whose birthdays are nearly a year apart, and that has implications on how to approach cultivating their physical skills. 

Sometimes the only thing standing between a student and learning a particular skill is the time they need to grow.

Keeping watch

As an elementary school educator, there are specific groups of students that require extra attention while teaching physical activities:

  • Students who are the youngest in their grade – the December babies 
  • Those who are physically less mature than their peers 
  • Those with a pervasive coordination problem

 Keeping these students in mind when designing lessons will ensure there isn’t a learning disparity between children of different ages or developmental ages.

Tips for teaching

The approach teachers take to instructing students of various developmental ages can feel daunting, and will change from one class to the next, but there are some simple ways to level the playing field for students.

  • Break down a skill into small components that let a student who is less developmentally advanced experience some success. 
  • Modify equipment to make skills easier to do. For instance, play badminton with balloons and not shuttlecocks. 
  • Shorten the distance and increase the target size for throwing or kicking. 
  • Alter the rules to games for those who are not as developmentally advanced. 
  • Pick teams to avoid one-sided games. 


It’s difficult to correctly identify where every student currently is in their physical literacy journey, but by following these steps you can ensure that all of them have a fair chance to learn. Adjusting your teaching methods to take developmental age into consideration will have an impact on students long after they leave your classroom. 

children running outside

Children spend more time at school than anywhere else, so if we want students to gain a lifelong love for physical activity, it’s crucial to start in the classroom. The skills that they develop as part of the B.C. curriculum will become the foundation for becoming active for life, and having the motivation and competence  necessary to develop their physical literacy over the long term. 

Here are some key strategies to ignite their passion for movement:

#1. Create activities based on their interests

Fun is a key part of any physical activity at school, and kids love to play games based on characters and stories they already know. That’s why it’s a great idea to base the games on things that are popular, such as Harry Potter, Paw Patrol, or Minecraft. 

When introducing a new sport of physical activity to students, make sure they’re enjoying it rather than just going through the motions. Introduce friendly competition, and give them goals to achieve that will give them a sense of satisfaction. If something seems like it’s too challenging, or there’s a risk of strain or injury, simply adjust the activity to suit their needs. Make sure to encourage the students, congratulating them on individual achievements, and liven things up with team cheers, colourful equipment and maybe even music. 

Teachers can even consider jumping in to participate!

#2. Build their community

Once a student knows how to do something, and seems to be really enjoying it, support them in finding opportunities to continue doing the activity outside of school.

This could mean introducing them to a sports team, connecting them with a recreation facility, or encouraging them to join a club. Doing research on what your community has to offer will help you find the opportunities your students need to keep going with their physical literacy development. Teachers can also inquire about partnerships or field trips that the students could participate in to learn more and get introduced to new environments that will benefit their physical development journey. 

#3. Take small steps

Sometimes goal-setting can be daunting, and can leave the student discouraged.

When you’re encouraging your students to engage in a physical activity, try to give them simple and easy to achieve tasks that will give them a sense of growth and accomplishment. For instance, a teacher could set a goal of completing five laps of the track to meet the student where they’re at if they know the student has already completed four in the past, or gradually throwing a football farther and farther as they gain confidence. Teachers should avoid any activities that strain or overwhelm the student, as this could lead to injury and them losing interest. By giving them small and achievable goals, teachers can boost the confidence of their students and set them on the track to success.


To learn more, check out our Lasting Impacts resources. To organize your curriculum offerings, check out PLAYBuilder.