The Impact of Circus Arts Instruction in Physical Education on the Physical Literacy of Children in Grades 4 and 5

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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Objective: To examine the impact of circus arts instruction in physical education (PE) on the physical literacy of children in Grades 4 and 5. Methods: A clustered, quasi-experimental design was used comparing children in schools with circus arts instruction in physical education (n = 101) with children in socioeconomic status-matched schools using standard PE instruction (n = 110). Physical literacy assessments performed at the beginning and end of one semester using the Physical Literacy Assessment for Youth tools. Results: Significant improvements in motor competence for both groups; endpoint differences favored the circus arts instruction in physical education schools for 15 of 18 movement skills for Grade 5 and 7 of 18 skills for Grade 4 (p < .05), with corresponding increases in children’s confidence and comprehension of movement terminology, as well as active participation. The gap in motor competence between girls and boys in the circus arts instruction in physical education schools was smaller than in standard PE schools. Conclusions: Circus arts instruction enriched PE can effectively aid in the development of physical literacy in children with greater gender equity.

Kriellaars and Kiez are with the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Cairney is with the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Bortoleto is with the University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dudley is with Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Aubertin is with the Ecole National de Cirque, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Kriellaars (dean.kriellaars@umanitoba.ca) is corresponding author.
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