This article explores the role of knowledge and understanding in fostering physical literacy, which is considered fundamental to successful participation in physical activity, and to valuing and taking responsibility for engaging in physical activities for life. First, it highlights the place and importance of knowledge and understanding within the broad concept, cognitive domain, and attributes of physical literacy. The type, scope, and progression of knowledge and understanding deemed necessary to foster physical literacy are then explored, with attention paid to knowledge of health within the school context in particular. To conclude, the article outlines selected pedagogical approaches and practical strategies for developing and monitoring such knowledge and understanding.
Lorraine Cale and Jo Harris
Lorraine Cale, Jo Harris and Ming-Hung Chen
This article represents a response to an editorial piece written in Pediatric Exercise Science over 10 years ago by Thomas Rowland in which he debated fitness testing and asked whether the “horse” of fitness testing in schools was dead. Here, the authors revisit the debate and consider the progress that has been made with regard to fitness testing in schools in recent years. On the basis of findings from the literature and some of their research, the authors suggest that accepting the fact that the horse is dead would not be a bad thing. Their advice is certainly to pull tightly on the reigns, slow the horse down, and not allow fitness testing to dominate schools’ efforts to promote physical activity.
Anna E. Chalkley, Ash C. Routen, Jo P. Harris, Lorraine A. Cale, Trish Gorely and Lauren B. Sherar
Introduction: School-based running programs that promote daily (or regular) walking/jogging/running are an emerging public health initiative. However, evaluation of these programs has predominantly used quantitative measures that limit understanding and explanations of contextual influences on pupil participation. Therefore, the aim of this study was to qualitatively explore pupils’ experiences of participating in a primary-school-based running program (Marathon Kids) to provide relevant insights and inform program developments. Methods: Nine semistructured focus groups were conducted with a purposeful sample of 50 pupils (26 girls and 24 boys) between 6 and 10 years of age from 5 primary schools in England. All schools had delivered the running program for 5–9 months during the 2015–16 academic year. Transcripts were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach. Results: Pupils identified a range of organizational, interpersonal, and intrapersonal factors that they believed influenced their participation in the program. Six themes were identified as being important to pupils’ experiences: Marathon Kids as an enabling program, pupils’ autonomy to participate, peer influence on participation (e.g., development of social cohesion), teacher influence on delivery (e.g., fidelity of implementation), logistics and suitability of the school environment, and appropriateness of program resources. Conclusions: School-based running programs can offer an enjoyable physical activity experience for children; however, it is important to understand how current delivery approaches influence pupils’ participation. Aspects that were believed to facilitate enjoyment included pupil autonomy to participate, perceived benefits of participation (including psychosocial outcomes), and a supportive school environment. Further research is required to identify the type and level of support required by schools to sustain pupil participation in running programs so that their perceived value is maintained.