This informal CPD article on Fitness Perspective for CPD was provided by Teddy Time Fitness, a company whose aim is to provide a range of products and services that assist nurseries, childminders and schools deliver effective physical play activities for children in early years.
Studies have shown that children who take part in physical activity when they are younger are 80% more likely to carry on taking part in regular exercise later in life. It has also been proven, by taking part in the advised amount of physical activity whilst you are younger that you will have increased amounts of brain power throughout life. There is nothing but positive benefits when it comes to children and physical activity, however there are certain methods that are more effective than others.
There are many activities that children can partake in, however the best activities will keep children engaged and improve their:
- Gross motor skills
- Fine motor skills
- Upper, lower and core body strength
- Ability to work individually and to participate within a group
- Spatial awareness
- Ability to follow instructions
- Imagination, functional movements and more
These movement skills are very important and provide the foundation for the more complex and specialised skills that children will need throughout their lives. They need these skills to competently and confidently play different games, sports and recreational activities that are a requirement in the school PE curriculum.
A child needs a strong core to enable them to develop their physical, functional and social foundations to maintain an upright posture whilst standing and sitting. Essentially, core strength, or postural control, is both the anchor and the launching pad for everything that we do – if a child does not have a strong core, this will affect their head position, shoulder position, elbow position, wrist position and finger position. If a child has poor core strength, they will have difficulty controlling their fine motor skills, such as handwriting, as well as participating in gross motor activities like school sports.
If a child misses out on these skills during the early years (under 5), it can become a barrier to enjoying PE at primary and secondary school and the relationship they have with physical activity through into their adult lives.
When planning an inclusive physical play activity session for children aged 2 – 5 you need to consider who might be attending the session. Gathering information such as numbers, ages, abilities, language, and developmental stages of the children will allow you to plan an inclusive session. Understanding the stages of development of children aged 2 – 5 in relation to physical activity is very important so you can plan sessions that match not just the physical stages of development, but also the social and emotional development stages of children attending.
It is important to look at physical play from a holistic perspective, taking into consideration different areas of a child’s development. There are five areas of development that look at how children change and grow over time.
These are broken into stages that are also known as milestones. Awareness of these milestones will help when planning your physical play session:
Social development – development of friendships and learning social skills such as taking turns when playing with toys
Emotional development – this involves how children learn to express and deal with their feelings
Physical development – development of the body.
- Gross motor skills, or large muscle movement. ‘Gross’ in this context means ‘large’ and ‘motor’ means ‘movement’. For example, the muscles in our legs and arms that we use for running or throwing.
- Fine motor skills, or small muscle movement. For example, those in our hands that we use to manipulate objects such as a knife and fork or to hold a pencil for writing.
Cognitive development – development of the mind for thinking, using our memory and working things out
Language development – development of speech and communication skills
Children’s development in these areas pave the way towards emotional maturity and independence.
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Teddy Time Fitness, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.