As part of the Erasmus+ Sports project, Inclusion and Gender Equality Through Softball, the Ghajnsielem Redcoats conducted a Physical Literacy Assessment of the students attending Year 4 at the Gozo College Nadur Primary School. The assessment was based on that which is conducted by the Canadian Sport For Life organisation to evaluate physical literacy of Canadian children and youth.
The assessment is in preparation for the implementation of the Softball in Schools initiative of the Ghajnsielem Redcoats which is expected to commence in October. Through this initiative Physical Education teachers with the support of other entities including the Redcoats, will introduce softball to primary school students as part of an effort to increase the rate of participation of girls in sports.
There were two parts to the assessment. The first part involved three tests. The first one was an obstacle course which included hopping on two feet, sliding, catching a ball, throwing the ball to hit a target, skipping, hopping on one foot and kicking a ball. The students received points for their performance and were timed as well. The objective of this test was to assess the fundamental motor skills required for participation in physically active peer play in a format that simulates typical movement and skill variation. Measuring fundamental movement skills contributes towards a child’s physical competence to take part in active play.
The second assessment was a 20m Pacer Test. The Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test, a maximal aerobic fitness test, is a variation of the Beep Test. During this test all the students were trying to keep up with the beeps of the recorded programme and their ability to stay on pace was tested while running 20m laps. Cardiorespiratory fitness contributes to knowing whether or not children have the necessary endurance to take part in active games. The final assessment was the Plank Assessment of Torso Strength to assess torso muscular endurance. The students were timed as they held the plank position. Torso endurance and strength are related to back health, the ability to stabilize the body, and the function of both the upper and lower limbs.
For the second part of the Physical Literacy Assessment, the students returned to their classroom. They had to complete two questionnaires. The first one covered motivation and confidence, while the second one focused on knowledge, understanding and daily behaviour. This took about an hour to complete.
Mr Ruben Mercieca of the Sports Promotion Unit within SportMalta along with Joseph Scicluna of the Redcoats conducted the assessment with the support of the class teacher and the LSA assigned to one of the students. The physical literacy assessment is part of the various ways the Ghajnsielem Redcoats will try to measure the impact of IGETS in the community as well as the success of the project in achieving its objectives. Other measures include a survey of the parents of boys and girls to assess the difference in attitudes and perceptions of parents towards their daughters as compared to that of parents towards their sons in terms of willingness to encourage them to participate in sports. This survey was given to the parents of the students of Year 4 to complete. Another survey is to assess the awareness of the members of our community of the gender imbalances which prevail in Gozo. This surveys was distributed to the students of the Nadur Primary School to take home for their parents to complete.
It is expected that these assessments will be repeated in October 2018 towards the end of the IGETS project when these students will be in Year 6. This should evaluate the improvement in physical literacy of the students following the implementation of the Softball in Schools initiative.
The Redcoats would like to thank Ruben Mercieca along with the teaching staff, the Head of School and the Assistant Head of the Nadur Primary for their support and cooperation.