The Preschool Physical Literacy Assessment Tool

testing a new physical literacy tool for the early years

John Cairney, Heather J. Clark, Maeghan E. James, Drew Mitchell, Dean A. Dudley, Dean Kriellaars

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Background: Physical literacy is essential to physical activity across the lifespan. While there is an emerging body of research on physical literacy in school-aged children, the preschool years have largely been ignored. We tested the psychometric properties of the new tool, the Preschool Physical Literacy Assessment Tool (Pre-PLAy) designed to address this gap.

Methods: We recruted 78 children (aged 19–49 months) across 5 childcare centers in Hamilton, Ontario. Two Early Childhood Educators (ECE) completed the Pre-PLAy for each child at two points in time to assess inter-rater reliability and test-retest reliability. We assessed the agreement between the Pre-PLAy tool with gross motor skills and the ability of the PPLAy to predict physical activity.

Results: Results indicated Pre-PLAy is related to gross motor skills and predictive of physical activity for females, but not males. Inter-rater and intra-rater reliability was at least adequate for all but the coordinated movements items and scale for females, but ECEs showed poor agreement for males.

Conclusions: These results suggest initial support for the Pre-PLAy tool as a measure of physical literacy during the early years. However, some modification to the items and training are required to address the gender-specific effects found in this sample.
Original languageEnglish
Article number138
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • physical literacy
  • preschool
  • physical activity promotion
  • psychometric properties
  • psychometric
  • validity
  • reliability

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