Physical Literacy

YMCA Victoria is committed to supporting the physical literacy of children and young people. Physical literacy is about developing the skills, knowledge and behaviours that give us the confidence and motivation to lead active lives.

Children Essendon Activities (35)

Physical Literacy at YMCA Victoria

The YMCA has a rich history in helping Victorians lead healthier and happier lives, and enjoy the benefits of physical activity. With over 6,000 staff and volunteers working across health and fitness, aquatics, camping, children’s programs, gymnastics, disability, and youth services, we have been working with government, corporate and community partners for more than 30 years to achieve meaningful, measurable health outcomes for Victorians.

The benefits of physical activity

Children who are active on a daily basis are more likely to be a healthy weight, develop stronger bones, achieve greater academic success and experience better mental health with less susceptibility to symptoms of depression and anxiety[1]. Importantly, active children are more likely to become active adults, resulting in lifelong benefits for health and wellbeing.

How active are Australian children?

Australian children, like all Australians, are sitting more and moving less. Only 19% of Australian children aged 5–17 years meet the recommended minimum 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and 71% of children in this age group engage in more screen time, than recommended, every day[2]. Today’s environment and increasingly sedentary lifestyles mean many children are missing out on the opportunity to be active every day, and as a result are not learning fundamental movement skills, like how to run, throw, kick, catch or jump[3].

Australian Physical Literacy Framework

Sport Australia has developed the Australian Physical Literacy Framework, to support all Australians develop their physical literacy at every stage of life.

Developing your physical literacy can give you the confidence and capability to be active and stay active for life. This is because physical literacy gives you:

  • physical skills and fitness;
  • the attitudes and emotions that motivate you to be active;
  • the knowledge and understanding of how, why and when you move, and
  • the social skills to be active with others.


YMCA Victoria has partnered with Sport Australia, Deakin University and the University of Western Australia to establish a daily physical literacy program in YMCA Early Learning Centres. PLAY is a structured physical literacy program that is evidence-based, fun and developmentally appropriate for children aged 3 – 5 years old.


For more information about physical literacy at the Y or the PLAY program, email

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017, Impact of physical inactivity as a risk factor for chronic conditions: Australian Burden of Disease Study. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 15 Cat. no. BOD 16, AIHW, Canberra.

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, 4364.0.55.004 - Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2011-12: 5 - 17 year olds, retrieved 20 May 2018,

[3] Barnett, L, Hardy, L, Lubans, D, Cliff, D, Okely, A, Hills, A, Morgan, P, Activity, P, Child, SBSotA & Network, AOR 2013, 'Australian children lack the basic movement skills to be active and healthy', Health promotion journal of Australia, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 82-4.