Why the Next Athletics Program

Children (and adults) participate in sport and physical activity to have fun, make friends, and enjoy shared experiences with others. They are motivated by a sense of belonging, achievement, and autonomy.

Next Athletics is designed around the Australian Physical Literacy Framework, an application of holistic lifelong learning through movement and physical activity. The Framework outlines and supports the development of social, emotional, and cognitive skills through physical activity.

The Next Athletics program provides children with an opportunity to learn and grow at their own pace by focusing on skills acquisition through gameplay rather than competition. Classes are designed to be inclusive by providing a variety of social environments where children engage in partnerships, small groups, and team play. They are encouraged and supported to discuss and question a game’s format and make individual and group decisions that improve their understanding.

Just like learning to read, write, and use numbers, children (and adults) need to learn various physical skills, along with the importance of being physically active. Physical literacy is about having the competence, confidence and motivation to be active throughout your life. Through physical activity, in a group setting, children also develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills.

Being physically literate sets children up to develop the skills, habits and motivation to participate in sport, and physical activity. In this way, physical literacy is just as important as literacy and numeracy but is often neglected. Next Athletics wants to change this by providing an opportunity for children to develop and build upon the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills that set them up to lead an active and happy life.

The program’s research and evidenced based framework is grounded in the four domains of physical literacy (physical, social, emotional, cognitive) to provide a holistic, child-centred experience. Sessions are dynamic, flexible, and engaging while building fundamental skill acquisition and development.

For more information on physical literacy and why it is important, visit the Australian Sports Commission's dedicated physical literacy hub.

Next Athletics introduces and progressively builds upon Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) through a games-based, safe, and high-quality program. FMS begin with basic movements that are the building blocks required for other locomotor, stability, and manipulative skills. Children can then continue to develop more complex and sport-specific skills. Fundamental movement skills are very important to a child’s physical literacy development. When confident and competent in these skills, such as throwing, kicking, running, jumping, hopping and catching, children will find it easier to apply these skills to more complex sport-specific skills: for example, running a sprint, running and jumping in long jump, running over hurdles, or throwing a javelin.

A child that is given the opportunity to learn a wide range of fundamental movement skills acquires the competence, confidence and motivation to try new sports and activities.

Next Athletics acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which we play, learn, and grow. We pay our respects to First Nations elders both past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.