Physical Literacy in the US


The Aspen Institute, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, produced a report in 2015 offering guidance to stakeholders on the central idea in the Project Play playbook: physical literacy. Visit the Project Play Physical Literacy in the United States website.

Aspen created a 15-member working group comprised of leaders from across sectors to develop a strategic plan for introducing physical literacy as a desired outcome for all children living in the United States. We engaged in a multi-step process:

1. Conducted the first environmental scan of global efforts around physical literacy.

2. Developed a definition for physical literacy that fits with the culture and needs of the United States.

3. Identified goals and objectives for a successful movement.

4. Engaged additional leaders from key sectors whose participation is necessary to successfully activate a physical literacy plan.

5. Laid the groundwork for adoption of physical literacy as a goal for stakeholders.

Robin Schepper, senior advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center and former executive director of Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, spoke at the 2015 Project Play Summit on the importance of physical literacy. "We focus our attention so much on our minds -- how to write, how to read, how to do math -- but we haven't focused enough attention on how to move our bodies," Schepper said. "We can't do anything if we don't have a body."

The Aspen Institute helped define physical literacy as the ability, confidence and desire to be active for life. The physical literacy report provides critical support for the connection between the development of motor skills and physical activity habits.