Physical Literacy Curriculum

How to use this curriculum

This Curriculum guides the participant and teacher through a series of sessions that ultimately improves physical fitness and supports growth in character traits critical for on field and off field success. Integral to this Curriculum is physical movement, mental engagement and instruction methods that create connection and community. Each session follows a consistent delivery sequence that introduces and reinforces the movement and mindset activities while enabling the participants to feel encouraged and empowered within a safe space.

Delivery Sequence:

  1. Setting Expectations: Today’s Skill Focus and Value
  2. Vital Connection, Introduction: Community Circle and Call Your Life Play
  3. Activation: Warm-Up, Skill Session, and Cool Down
  4. Vital Connection, Reflection: Community Circle and Call Your Life Play

Today’s Skill Focus:

The sequence of 10 sessions puts an emphasis on physical literacy and mental adaptability and each one builds on the one before it. Each session has a physical fitness and mindset focus that is important not only in sport, but in living a healthy lifestyle.

Today’s Value:

Play Rugby USA has cultivated six Values-in-Action that help students perform their best in the classroom and on the field – positively impacting their social and emotional growth. Each session is paired with a value for students to discuss and explore as they complete the session.

Community Circles:

Every session begins and ends with a full team Community Circle, promoting both active listening and contribution. Circles naturally foster a sense of community by placing focus on the group rather than any one individual and they create opportunities for everyone to speak, ask questions and be heard. These circles also create a safe place facilitated by coaches for students to reflect about how they are feeling, what is happening outside of this session and what to expect for the session.

Call Your Life Play:

In every circle, students are asked to bring focus and awareness to their current wellbeing by calling their “life play” on a scale of 1-5. By holding up the corresponding number of fingers, every student is given the chance to use their voice and share in a way that is free from judgment, while coaches gauge the dynamics of the group and better understand what an individual student might need during the session.


Every session begins with a warm-up to promote safety and help students prepare both physically and mentally for the skills portion. There are three different warm-up variations that will be used consistently throughout this program and are located in the Warm-Up Library. Once students are comfortable with the variations, these should become student-led to promote contribution and offer opportunities for leadership.

Skill Session:

Each skill session is designed to be delivered in-person or remote, depending on your individual circumstances. You will find corresponding exercise cards for each, with details of proper technique, video links and coaching points. Depending on the amount of time you have for each session and the dynamic of your students, you can scale the number of exercises, reps and sets to meet the needs of your unique group.

Each student will be provided with a Fitness Journal to document their journey throughout the program. This will allow for discussions around goal setting and progress, deepening the social emotional impact.

Cool Down:

Every session will end with a cool down to assist in recovery and help students transition into the rest of their day. There are three different cool down variations that will be used consistently throughout this program and are located in the Playbook. Once students are comfortable with the variations, these should become student-led to promote contribution and offer opportunities for leadership.

Play Rugby Values-in-Action

Participation in sports and physical fitness undoubtedly contributes to the social emotional growth of young people. However, instead of allowing this growth to simply be a by-product of participation, Play Rugby USA puts values and character development at the core of our programming, creating intentional off-field impact by growing their social and emotional learning.

Using six common sports phrases, this curriculum creates a shared language and encourage students to consider how these values can be utilized on the field, at home, at school and in their community.

Go Forward – Strive to improve, experience growth, and never give up, embracing challenges as opportunities for learning (SEL Application: Self-Awareness & Self-Management)

Switch On – Be both mentally and physically prepared and focused on the task at hand (SEL Application: Self-Management)

Get There – Always seek to be active, involved and make a positive impact (SEL Application: Social Awareness & Relationship Skills)

Play What You See – Approach challenges as opportunities for growth by being a dynamic and positive decision maker (SEL Application: Responsible Decision-Making)

Game Plan – Identify goals and create a strategy to achieve them (SEL Application: Self-Awareness)

Review My Film – Reflect on experiences to determine what went well and what can be improved on (SEL Application: Self-Awareness)