Moving with Momentum: Physical Literacy and Success

By: Melissa Gaudette

At Momentum Montessori, their physical literacy program is all-inclusive and built into their daily routine, thereby fostering children’s emotional well-being and physical health. From fun outdoor play to swimming and water safety, lessons are organised and built off of curriculum expectations and standards, all while shaping and developing fundamental skills in a positive and safe environment. Students learn these valuable skills in dynamic Toronto, which offers a multitude of varied learning opportunities, both indoor and outdoor.

Children learn the importance of movement and physical literacy as part of everyday life—it develops learning how to move, build strength, and how to do activities with proper technique.  Gross motor skills, for example, are developed with physical literacy. Activities like running, leaping, crawling, and balancing help children embrace a lifelong love of physical activity, thereby benefiting their health and learning capabilities.  

Participants in physical literacy are focused and engaged in learning. Children become stronger students. Studies have shown that secondary students perform better—including higher test scores and participation in student leadership roles—when the love of physical literacy has been fostered at an early age.  

Adam Buchnea, a sports day camp co-ordinator and a Secondary Physical Education teacher for the York Region District School Board, is an advocate for early physical literacy. As a teacher, he sees the difference between students who have had physical literacy as part of their early lives and those who haven’t. For him, there are clear differences: their ability to participate in sports (and physical literacy), and their self-confidence.

Buchnea states, “There is a certain confidence aspect [from athletes]. In high school, a lot of student leaders carry themselves with confidence. [Physical literacy] develops more of a level of confidence and comfort around people.”

Physical literacy creates positive socialisation. Buchnea adds, “It develops teamwork and a sense of cohesion; it’s very powerful. The earlier you start it, the more comfortable the students are going to feel in that environment . . . Exposing your young children to physical activity from a young age is going to have a huge social impact.”

Lifelong habits are created; the earlier the healthy habits start, the sooner that children perform better.  Buchnea comments that physical literacy at a young age develops the building blocks for future sports. “The earlier you start those skills, the more physically literate the children will be; it will encourage them to participate in other activities because they have the basic skill set of basic modes of locomotion to be successful in older sports,” he states.

Physical literacy isn’t limited to sports. Physical literacy promotes healthy activity which connects to the reduction of obesity, the strengthening of bones, and overall cardiovascular health.  This health benefit, when started young, will transcend into lifelong health practices.

Furthermore, behavioural issues are eliminated or dramatically reduced once regular physical literacy has been incorporated into a child’s life. Having physical movement as an outlet helps allow children to not only develop confidence and friendships, but channel their energy, thereby leaving children with a stronger ability to focus.

Buchnea states, “There’s tremendous benefits for them. When they go home, first of all, they’re more calm. . . for [teachers], I notice it on a day where they can do physical activity, there’s much less behavioural issues.”

Studies have proven that physical literacy directly connects to higher grades and test scores. Simply, students who participate in physical activity have a better balance with stress management, time management, and positive socialisation interactions. Students are focused and engaged when physical activity is routine.

Creating positive habits as routine is unique to Momentum Montessori. Because it is a private school, it isn’t limited to a rigid schedule of block classes—physical literacy is cultivated and regularly integrated into daily activities for all learners. As early as 18 months, students learn the beneficial fundamentals of movement. Toddlers see success in learning. The advantageous design of the program builds and transfers into the pre-school curriculum; pre-school students have the tools needed for achievement.  

Momentum Montessori implements physical literacy daily. Emotional and mental health is balanced. Physical health is promoted. Fundamental skills are developed. Your child’s well-being and happiness is enriched. By incorporating physical literacy in the curriculum, Momentum Montessori shapes children into healthy and balanced individuals.

Physical literacy at Momentum Montessori is the smart start to success.