Preschool Physical Literacy Assessment

The Preschool Physical Literacy Assessment (Pre PLAy) was developed by researchers with expertise in motor development in early childhood for educators who work with children ages 18 months to kindergarten entry. The Pre PLAy was developed for children at all levels of physical literacy within this age range, but was not developed to identify delay. If you have concerns about a delay, we recommend using a tool designed to detect delay.

Pre PLAy was designed for early childcare settings as these settings offer important opportunities to support children in developing physical literacy. Results from the Pre PLAy might be helpful for planning class activities that can strengthen children’s physical literacy. In the preschool space, developing physical literacy involves encouraging children to experiment with many different physical activities and movement skills. The focus should be on emphasizing creativity and problem-solving with movement (e.g. different ways to hit a target, or move through an obstacle course), and how to structure movement activities that are fun.

What is physical literacy?

Physical literacy takes a holistic view of a child that includes their competence in movement along with how they think and feel about movement and their movement abilities.    

Why is physical literacy important?

Physical literacy is important for setting a strong foundation for healthy physical activity behaviours. Children who are physically literate are more likely to participate in physical activity and develop more active habits. We need to consider all areas of physical literacy to better support a child’s development. For example, strategies and activities to support a child who really enjoys moving, but appears to need support with movement skills would be different from a child who is able to demonstrate movement skills, but is not motivated to engage in physical activities.

How do I use Pre PLAy?

The Pre PLAy is scored based on observations of the child in completing everyday tasks and activities (e.g. dressing for outside and moving around their environment) and playing games. We recommend starting by reading Section 2 which provides more detailed information and instruction about the items and how to score them. Once familiar with the tool, we recommend taking time to actively observe the child considering the Pre PLAy items. You might want to include additional games and activities into your classroom routine to provide more opportunities for observation. When completing the Pre PLAy scoring sheet, you can refer back to the information in Section 2.

How long does Pre PLAy take?

Pre PLAy includes 19 questions that capture 3 domains of physical literacy: movement competence, coordinated movements, along with motivation and enjoyment. Answering all of the Pre PLAy questions should take about 3-5 minutes to complete per child. The first couple of times you complete Pre PLAy, it will take more time as you refer back to the scoring rubric. We do not have a set time for actively observing the child, as the time needed will depend on your class size and activities. Instead, we recommend that you have had the chance to observe the child multiple times across multiple activities.

Instructions for Scoring Pre PLAy