Eric Sinker of PacificSport Fraser Valley will be heading up an introductory workshop for children’s physical skill development. The free two-hour session runs this Saturday in the Hope Arena mezzanine

Hope Recreation Centre promotes physical literacy

Two-hour workshop on Feb. 18 provides an introduction for children's physical skill development

If you’ve got literacy in language, you’re able to read, write and comprehend.

It’s a long process to move from illiterate to literate: first learning the basics of the alphabet, phonics sounds and sight words and learning how to spell and punctuate.

But what about physical literacy? Can you have it, without knowing all the names of the bones and muscles of the body?

“In short, physical literacy is an outcome,” said Eric Sinker, the sport participation coordinator for PacificSport Fraser Valley. “The ABCs of agility, balance, coordination and speed are the four core skills that underpin physical literacy. If every child had the opportunity to become physically literate, they would have the skills and knowledge to participate in any sport or physical activity they so desire. It’s important to distinguish that learning the key fundamental movements are the foundation for having a grasp on fundamental sport skills.”

Sinker and two sport professionals are presenting an introduction to some new initiatives in physical development at the Hope Arena mezzanine this Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sinker and the rec centre’s Kim Richardson have planned full-day workshops for March 10 and 17, to go more in depth on basic gymnastics and running, jumping and throwing skills.

“The workshops would be for people who work with children,” said Sinker, who has a degree in sport management from St. Catherines University in Ontario. “That would include teachers, early childhood educators, recreation staff, coaches, camp counselors and volunteers — but they’re also for parents and grandparents who want to help their kids at home.

Kids Can Move and Run Jump Throw are two programs that focus on developing the fundamental movement skills that are easily transferrable to any sport or physical activity that an individual would like to participate in. The focus is on children aged seven to 12.

This Saturday’s workshop is free and the other two are $25 each — or $40 for both. For the full-day sessions, Sinker said there is a minimum registration of 10 to 12 to make them viable. Registration is at the rec centre reception desk.

“All of the workshops will be interactive,” stresses Sinker. “There won’t be a lot of sitting around, so come dressed for activity.”

This Saturday, Mary Morice will be in attendance to promote the Kids Can Move gymnastics initiative and Taunya Geelhoed will outline the Run Jump Throw program.

The full-day Kids Can Move workshop will be on March 10, working on basic gymnastics than can be done with mats and benches, to help develop strength, balance, flexibility and agility.

The RJT program will run on March 17, covering running, jumping and throwing and catching skills.

Watch a group of young kids throwing baseballs or dodgeballs and you’ll see some basic mistakes that many of them are making. Throwing with the wrong footing is a key point that needs to be corrected if the child is going to have success at the skill. RJT will cover that, said Sinker.

While every kid may be able to run, the RJT training will give workshop attendees tips on improving the foot work for speed, balance and changing direction.

“Both the Run Jump Throw and Kids Can Move programs are great at breaking down each individual skill,” said Sinker. “From a teacher, parent or coach point of view, there are tons of great resources out there that can help with teaching  these movements in a fun way. These workshops in Hope will create awareness and provide tools to build confidence with each participant so they can take the lessons from this workshop, to teach the movements when they interact with children.”

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