Has Covid-19 had an effect on physical literacy development and how do we limit the consequences?

22/06/2021

By Jana Milosevic, ISCA


On 14-16 June, ISCA and the Sports Union of Slovenia hosted a hybrid meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, for all the partners working together on the Physical Literacy For Life (PL4L) project. The partners are striving to build a foundation for Physical Literacy to become a key component in European citizens’ lifelong learning journey through physical education, physical activity and sport. But the Covid-19 pandemic has posed a significant challenge to how we move, as barriers restricting these activities have slowed the development of physical literacy in young people.

Three workshops focusing on how physical literacy, physical activity, health and the overarching Covid-19 crisis featured on day 2 of the partners’ meeting, which started with a call to action from Andrea Backovic Jurican and Tjasa Knific from the Slovenian National Institute of Public Health. 

“Physical literacy heroes wanted to work together towards better health and physical literacy!”

They discussed how to use local partnerships and national health campaigns to create a healthy environment for people to develop their Physical Literacy and how to use Health Literacy in that environment. 

The second workshop was conducted by Gregor Jurak and Gregor Starc from the Faculty of Sport at the University of Ljubljana, who presented the idea of a Covid-19 FITbarometer, which could draw attention to the severe consequences of the measures put in place to help minimise the spread of Covid-19 in terms of limiting the heath-enhancing physical activity of children and young people. They hope the results of the barometer will lead to proposals to limit these consequences.

The last speaker, Nigel Green from the International Physical Literacy Association (IPLA) in the United Kingdom, explored the connection between the Covid-19 situation and Physical Literacy, posing concerns, questions, but also providing ideas for solutions in a series of infographics designed into a presentation, which you can find here. Green said IPLA was looking to find evidence linking the two topics, predicting the long term consequences, celebrating good practices and trying to propose calls to action.

The meeting and workshops pointed to potential for more research on the effects of Covid-19 restrictions on physical literacy development, and to use the evidence to regain the momentum of physical literacy promotion during and after the pandemic. The project partners will publish a series of advocacy-oriented resources and will hold multiplier seminars in Denmark, Bulgaria, Spain, Slovenia, France and Portugal in the second half of 2021.