UWinnipeg trio attend international conference

Dr.. Melanie Gregg , Dr. Nathan Hall, Samantha Toulman, Cassidy Nicholls (FKHK), Gary Swanson (City of Winnipeg), Karen Glugosh (City of Winnipeg), Kristine Hayward (Winnipeg Regional Health AUthority).

Dr.. Melanie Gregg , Dr. Nathan Hall, Samantha Toulman, Cassidy Nicholls (FKHK), Gary Swanson (City of Winnipeg), Karen Glugosh (City of Winnipeg), and Kristine Hayward (Winnipeg Regional Health Authority). Photo supplied.

The University of Winnipeg was well represented at the recent International Physical Literacy Conference held in Winnipeg earlier this month.

UWinnipeg researchers Drs. Nathan Hall and Melanie Gregg, both from kinesiology and applied health, as well as research assistant and undergraduate student Samantha Toulman (education), participated in the conference.

The trio presented their research on how the Movement For Life physical literacy education program impacts physical literacy in day care centres with children under the age of six. This study is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SHRCC) funded Partnership Engage Grant research project.

“Presenting at and participating in the International Physical Literacy Conference was an excellent way to foster collaborations with other researchers, gain a better understanding of what is happening in physical literacy research and programming around the world, and bring back these best practices to the local community,” said Gregg. “Physical literacy research has gained momentum in the past five years and it’s wonderful to see the positive effect this is having on our understanding of physical literacy, as well as helping people from different communities, with a range of abilities, and across the age span to be more physically active and enhance their physical literacy.”

The UWinnipeg team partnered with the City of Winnipeg Community Services Department and Fit Kids Healthy Kids, who are respectively running the three-hour Movement For Life workshops and eight weeks of active programming in daycare centres involved in the study.

During the International Physical Literacy pre-conference, Hall and Gregg ran two active participation workshops in partnership with Cassidy Nicholls from Fit Kids Healthy Kids that educated and engaged more than 40 practitioners and researchers from around the world in some of the activities that are part of the Movement For Life program.

“It is exceptional to have the City and Fit Kids Healthy Kids collaborating with us at UWinnipeg on this project,” said Hall. “It is a true testament to what can be achieved when researchers team up with those outside of academia.”

At the conference, Toulman presented information about the Movement for Life project, including the benefits of providing physical literacy education to early childhood caregivers and some initial study results.

“Getting involved in research as an undergrad has encouraged me to consider continuing my education through a graduate degree to continue working on research and perhaps conduct my own in the future,” shared Toulman. “Being invited to attend conferences, like the International Physical Literacy Conference, has provided me with opportunities to connect with and learn from so many amazing people from across Canada and around the world. This experience has been invaluable!”

Concluding the conference, Hall was one of four invited speakers from across Canada that shared their expertise on developing physical literacy in the early years of childhood during a panel presentation. He discussed the history of the Movement for Life program and its potential influence on the landscape of early childhood physical literacy in Manitoba and beyond.

“I feel that the large attendance and considerable interest in our presentations on early childhood physical literacy at this conference is a clear indicator of how important the international community feels about our work,” noted Hall.


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