Over 120 individuals attended the Victoria Physical Literacy Symposium today at Royal Oak Middle School. The one-day event was presented by PISE and featured renowned physical literacy specialist Dr. Dean Kriellaars as its keynote speaker. It also included sessions on adapting programming for children of different abilities. The attendees represented multiple sectors including teachers, health professionals, recreation, and sport leaders interested in implementing physical literacy activities into their programs.

Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Sport, Gordon Hogg made a surprise appearance to open the session. “On behalf of the Province, I would like to extend my congratulations to the Board and staff of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on hosting your first ever physical literacy symposium,” he commented. “This symposium will provide teachers with important knowledge and tools that they can use in their schools and communities. Children will develop the skills they need to feel confident in participating in physical activities and start down the path for a healthy and active life.”

Dr. Kriellaars keynote session addressed how participants can incorporate physical literacy enriched activities into a variety of indoor or outdoor settings. Physical literacy was discussed as a means to enhance performance, increase active participation, as well as to reduce risk of injury. Dr. Kriellaars demonstrated how physical activity is a lot more fun when you are physically literate!

As a faculty member of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Kriellaars has an impressive resume working with many organizations such as Canadian Sport for Life, PHE Canada, the Sport Medicine and Science Council of Manitoba, Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, Cirque du Soleil, the National Circus School, and the RCMP on community wellness initiatives.

“PISE was proud to present the first Physical Literacy Symposium in Victoria. We were delighted to see so many leaders from the key sectors here today to learn more about implementing physical literacy programming into practice,” said Robert Bettauer, CEO of PISE. “We believe this growing collaboration between health, education, recreation and sport, and the levering of our collective resources will provide a fundamental difference to the quality of life in our communities.”

The symposium also featured sessions on Adapting for Children with Different Abilities, where PISE shared the steps it has taken to address the need for physical literacy programs for children and youth with physical and cognitive disabilities. A session titled Programming for Children with Autism, described what autism looks like in a physical activity setting, and then discussed “I CAN Have Physical Literacy,” a pilot partner program with PISE and the Canucks Autism Network that included the production of a resource that is available to everyone through PISE’s website.

The symposium was made possible through the generous support of the Victoria Foundation and the Telus Victoria Community Board.