Halifax Parks & Recreation's Active for Life committee has been working to standardize program service delivery under the guidance of national organizations, leading research, and best practice in the field of children’s sport development.
A Sport Standardization Program creates sport standards within the recreation delivery system while providing consistent curriculum, training, and support, for staff throughout the municipality. An important part of this initiative is developing multi-sport programs that are designed to foster skill development and lifelong physical activity.
Standardizing sport programming for youth
The municipality’s Sport Standardization Program impacts the first three stages of Long-Term Athlete Development. These include Active Start, FUNdamentals, and Learn to Train, with age categories of 0-5, 6-9, and 9-12 years respectively. These are considered introductory stages focusing on skill development and acquisition.
Evidence shows that playing multiple sports during childhood and adolescence is more effective than single-sport specialization in developing successful athletes. Our multi-sport programs will focus on skill development rather than structured competition activities. Developing fundamental skills early increases success and ultimately a love for sports.
Efforts to standardize program service delivery is under the guidance of Canada’s Sport for Life, Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Framework, National Sport Organization’s sport specific guidelines with regards to age and skill, High Five's Principles of Healthy Childhood Development, and Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) to develop Physical Literacy through sport programming. Physical literacy is recognized as a precondition for lifelong participation in and enjoyment of sport in the Canadian Sport Policy.
Lesson Plan Generator and increased programming
Funding obtained by the Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage made it possible for our Active for Life Committee to implement Playbuilder Software that provides instructors with an online database of activities where they can create lesson plans in minutes.
These changes have made it possible for us to offer Jr. NBA under a recreation model currently in 14 locations. Registration for Gymnastics Nova Scotia's Tumblebugs program has increased from 12 programs with a registration of 70 participants throughout the municipality to 62 programs with an estimated 713 preschool age children registered.