SA and Sport Australia aligned on Physical Literacy

20 October 2019
Teaching children the importance of an active lifestyle is vital.

Swimming Australia (SA) supports and endorses Sport Australia’s position statement on physical literacy, as both organisations continue to prioritise the health and wellbeing of Australians.

The position statement, which was released on Tuesday 15 October, details the commitment to help all Australians, especially children, bring out their best through physical activity, and complements its Australian Physical Literacy Framework.

Swimming Australia is among more than 50 sporting organisations and physical activity providers to back the position statement, with others including Tennis Australia, the Football Federation Australia, the National Rugby League and Active Healthy Kids Australia.

With swimming attracting around seven million Australian participants per year, programs such as GOswim, the Bio Island Australian Junior Excellence Program and performance pathways, all play a key role in keeping children and young people active.


Chief Executive of Swimming Australia, Leigh Russell, congratulated Sport Australia on its initiative and said this message aligns with SA’s values and goals.

“Swimming Australia commends Sport Australia’s position statement on physical literacy and more broadly endorses the Physical Literacy Framework which was released earlier this year,” she said.

“Through our programs such as GOswim, which encourages children to develop their skills in the water from learn to swim right through to more advanced squads, Swimming Australia is committed to pursuing opportunities to engaged with, promote and align to the physical literacy framework.

“We know how important it is for our community to stay physically active, so as a sport, we’ll continue to look for ways to bring this important message to life.”

CEO of Sport Australia, Kate Palmer, said it was especially crucial to help children develop physical literacy – the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for healthy lives.

“Physical literacy is far bigger than just teaching our children how to play sport, it’s about putting them on the path to healthier, happier and more active lives,” Palmer said.

“You don’t give a young child a book and expect them to understand it confidently without first teaching them how to read, so why can’t we place a greater emphasis on teaching every child to be active, which is a fundamental skill that will benefit them every day, for the rest of their lives?

“Society often talks about the role of physical activity in combatting health issues like obesity, which is true, but there’s so much more to be gained by teaching our kids the necessary skills to be active, including improvement to mental health. That means things like helping kids learn better in school, building their confidence, self-esteem and motivation, helping them form social connections and friendships, plus boosting their strategic and critical thinking skills.

“Physically literacy is about holistic development – physically, psychologically, socially and cognitively.

“The Australian Government has set a goal in the national sport plan to decrease physical inactivity by 15 per cent by 2030, and so improving physical literacy in children is vital. The quality of life for this generation and for future generations depends on it.”

Sport Australia’s Position Statement on Physical Literacy

Sport Australia is committed to improving the lives of all Australians through sport and physical activity. We want more Australians moving more often because we know the enormous benefits to our health and wellbeing – physically, socially, psychologically and cognitively.

Success depends on generational change, with an emphasis on young Australians. Today’s environment and increasingly sedentary lifestyles mean many children are missing out on learning fundamental movement skills, like how to run, throw, kick, catch or jump. This is a vital first step in developing the physical literacy required to get Australians moving more.

Physical literacy is about developing knowledge and behaviours that give children the motivation and confidence to enjoy active lifestyles. Establishing active habits in children sets them on the path to happier and healthier lives, paving the way for a more productive Australia.

Educators, coaches and families all play a crucial role in promoting and developing physical literacy in children. This can be achieved through quality physical education, school and community sport programs and embracing daily play and physical activity.

Movement skills, like numeracy, reading and writing, can be learned. Research shows that children who engage in regular physical activity and improve their physical literacy, reap the numerous health benefits and also learn better academically.

Sport Australia wants all young Australians to benefit from these opportunities. We are committed to leading and collaborating with the sport, education and health sectors to ensure physical literacy is a core component of every child’s development and education.

Through this commitment we will strive to create a healthier generation of more active Australians

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