The Preschool Physical Literacy Assessment Tool: Testing a New Physical Literacy Tool for the Early Years


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.

We recruited 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 Pre-PLAy to predict physical activity.

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.

These results suggest initial support for the Preschool Physical Literacy Assessment Tool 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.