By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Parents, coaches, teachers and early childhood educators are being invited to take part in a free 90-minute workshop Nov. 12 to help them incorporate physical literacy and fundamental movement skills into their work. The program takes place at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is part of the Canadian Sport for Life movement, an initiative to make sport better through long-term athlete development and the encouragement of healthy lifestyles.
Community Services Operations and Program Coordinator Tyler Edworthy said the evening session would provide the tools to work with children up to the age of eight, children who may not be getting the same physical literacy skills as previous generations. Although the program is geared for those six and under, Edworthy said the age range is being expanded to those who work with children eight and under. “There’s a lot of kids that don’t get the fundamental movement skills they need by the age of six, especially nowadays,” he explained. “That’s balance, coordination, throwing a ball, kicking a ball, swinging a bat – all of those basic movements. It’s just getting those fundamental coordination skills going.”
Edworthy said the Sport for Life program branches into more and more detailed areas, including training in sports, training to compete, and competing to win. The Morinville session will deal with the first level of the program, skills Edworthy, an athlete himself, believes important for youth to learn. While the end beneficiary of the skills are children eight and under, the Nov. 12 program is for the adults who can bring those skills back to the children they work with. “Without the fundamental development at a young age, kids are finding it’s hard to succeed in sports later in life,” Edworthy said. “The number one reason kids drop out of sport is because they feel uncomfortable doing it or they don’t feel that they can do it. They don’t have the confidence in their abilities to play the sport so they end up quitting.”
Busy lifestyles and a lack of opportunity are what he sees as a contributor to the lack of physical literacy in children today. “When we were younger everyone was told to go play in the park, go climb a rock,” he said. “Kids today aren’t given those opportunities as much.”
The Town of Morinville’s Community Service Department is hoping to change that by offering the government-funded program in Morinville. Anyone interested in learning more about fundamental movement and skill development, respect in sports, and physical literacy is welcome to take part in the free workshop. For more information on registering contact Tyler Edworthy at 780-939-7834 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.