Physical Literacy and School Orienteering and Outdoor Learning
Physical literacy has been around since the 1990s. However, due to the ongoing challenges of inactivity and obesity, combined with the effect of Covid on children’s physical and mental health, physical literacy has become increasingly important in current policy around health and education.
The International Physical Literacy Association gives the following definition for physical literacy:
“Physical literacy can be described as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” (IPLA, 2017)
Physical literacy is therefore a ‘lifelong journey’, unique to the child. It enables a child to develop a lifelong love of movement and harvest all the benefits that physical learning can bring.
So how does school orienteering and outdoor learning contribute to the physical literacy journey for our young people?
Motivation – Orienteering can be positive and rewarding for all children. It involves a very inclusive type of physical activity, in which all children can participate, including those who have difficulty engaging in traditional sports. Courses can be adapted to be inclusive for all abilities and ages, which will contribute to the varied range of physical challenges and experiences which should be included within a school’s curriculum.
Confidence – Because orienteering is so inclusive, all children can make progress from their own level, experience success and gain confidence in their physical abilities, and problem-solving skills. Through teamwork, children develop their own leadership skills as well as confidence in others.
Physical Competence – Providing a purpose and incentive for running, orienteering is uniquely well-placed to motivate children to develop physical attributes such as stamina, speed and agility.
Knowledge and Understanding – Orienteering can support children’s wider cognitive development, such as problem-solving-, planning and evaluating their performance, as well as helping children to develop an understanding of basic map reading and navigation.
Physical Activity for Life – Orienteering can be used to deliver learning across the whole curriculum. It helps to extend children’s physical activity beyond PE and games lessons and encourages children to see it as an essential part of everyday life. The fitness and stamina that orienteering develops, together with map reading and navigational skills, create the foundation for children to take part in a wide range of physical activities later in their lives.
Physical literacy focuses on ensuring activity is purposeful, engaging, relevant and rewarding. School orienteering and outdoor learning through Enrich Education has the potential to create a wide variety of physical challenges in which all children are motivated to take part and enjoy, developing new skills, knowledge and understanding. It can therefore help schools ensure that all children get off to successful first steps along their physical literacy journeys.
Emma McKenzie-Hogg is the Development Manager for Primary at the Youth Sport Trust had these thoughts:
‘Given the impact of the pandemic on children’s attitudes towards, and related decline in physical activity levels, embracing all that outdoor learning and orienteering offers in providing purposeful, engaging relevant and rewarding experiences, will only enhance the physical literacy journey for all’
For further information about physical literacy, visit the International Physical Literacy Association website https://www.physical-literacy.org.uk/
To find out about the school orienteering and cross-curricular outdoor learning packages available through Enrich Education contact us now.
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