It’s no secret that there is a sedentary epidemic sweeping our nation among children, starving them of physical activity participation and the benefits that go with it.

Physical activity is essential to healthy development in children - from sleeping better, improved focus and academics, healthy body composition, building strong bones, enhancing emotional well-being, and decreasing their likelihood of acquiring chronic health conditions, such as heart disease. When children engage in physical activity they become healthier and happier! Isn’t that what we all want for our kids?  

Physical literacy is an important element to being physically active.
Physical literacy is defined as …
“the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

Dr. Dean Kriellaars, a Canadian leading expert in physical literacy and professor at the University of Manitoba, highlights that physical literacy isn’t just about being athletic and excelling at sports. Movement skills are imperative to basic health and survival.

“It’s not just about sport. It’s about being able to even participate in a world that’s very cold and being able to not slip and fall,” said Kriellaars.

By providing your child with the tools and an environment that supports all four domains of physical literacy, they are more likely to develop an active lifestyle. We know that active kids become active adults, and thus increases their potential to living a life full of vitality.

Maple City CrossFit Kids puts a large focus on developing physical literacy. In a class environment, through fun and games, we teach them how to pull, push, run, jump, throw, climb, and lift in many different styles and combinations. Teaching physical literacy allows them to do what kids do best - PLAY! There are several ways that this program teaches physical literacy,  showing them that they can succeed and work to instill enthusiasm and enjoyment for physical activity.

The Maple City CrossFit Kids program teaches physical literacy by utilizing these 6 principles:
ERROR CORRECTION - CrossFit Kids puts the child in an environment that allows them to both succeed and fail. Allowing one to move in a way that sets them up to fail in a safe way, is vital to allow error correction to happen. Through proper visual aides and cueing, they will learn how to correct these errors. These failures actually help develop the child’s brain, making them more robust in controlling their own bodies in time and space.

REPETITION BASED LEARNING - The more reps they do, the more they will learn. When a child is given one repetition they are likely to have a large amount of errors and a large magnitude of errors. However, as you give them more repetitions, their errors will begin to decrease as they familiarize themselves with the movement. Self correction occurs  and eventually they will become fluent in that particular movement. So, time on task increases movement competence. This allows the brain to develop proper movement patterns when they engage in repetitions.

SELF CORRECTION - Knowledge of results is an important component for self-correction to happen. Giving them the information to know when they did a movement correctly, reinforces this movement pattern and allows them to engage in self correction. This is an easy way for the child to learn and master a movement, which builds their confidence in themselves!

MOVEMENT SELECTION ERROR - CrossFit Kids works to develop the child’s movement pattern for both their dominant and non-dominant sides. Forcing the practice of both sides allows them to progress symmetrically in how they move. This establishes equal ability on the right and left side, which can actually help in preventing injuries!

MOTOR CONTROL ERROR - there are 2 types of Motor Control Errors.
#1 the brains fails to ask the muscles to do the correct movement.
#2 the muscles fail to do the correct movement that the brain is asking them to do.
CrossFit Kids challenges the child to resolve both of these errors.

To minimize Motor Control Error #1, brain training is required. This is done through Repetition Based Learning and Knowledge of Results. Error #2 can be decreased through classic strength and endurance training, which is done through fun ways of moving, including games!

PHYSICAL LITERACY ENRICHED GAMES - This is one of our FAVOURITE parts about CrossFit Kids at Maple City CrossFit and is something we end each and every class with - a game! Teaching games for understanding is a great way to learn physical literacy. CrossFit Kids incorporates the use of games that are enriched with opportunities that enforce motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding. These games achieve all the different goals of physical literacy that allows them to execute movements in an environment that is real, all while they are having fun!

The BEST part of all of this, is that the kids don’t even know that they are learning physical literacy. Masked by fun and games, they are able to learn all physical literacy requirements that helps them reach their full potential to live a long and healthy life. They often ask their parents, “Is today the day we get to go to CrossFit?”

Do you have a child under the age of 18? Try a class at Maple City CrossFit Kids or CrossFit Teens for FREE!

To learn more about physical literacy, check out www.physicalliteracy.ca.


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