Physical Literacy in Early Childhood

October 06, 2017

academics Early Childhood

Our Early Childhood team regularly attends courses about academics, social and emotional needs, as well as physical needs of young children. Due to the high health risks of childhood obesity and diabetes in our nation, our Early Childhood team recently completed four hours of continuing education courses on the topic of movement and Physical Literacy.

In the photo shown, you see two images. The first is a child's brain at rest. The second is the brain after simply walking for twenty minutes. The image shows how physical activity, even in a simple form, can increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, making it more receptive and open to learning new skills and concepts. We see this every day in the classroom. Students who have been sitting for a time begin to lose focus and need a few moments of physical movement to help get their "juices flowing" and get them back on track to learn.

If you have a child under the age of 6, you probably realize that they don't sit still for very long. A child in this age range naturally learns through movement. The body develops naturally starting with the large muscle movements first, and then moves to smaller, fine motor movements. This makes sense because you need a strong core and balance in order to sit up and complete many fine motor skills.

As your child grows, there are many other areas of gross motor skills that are important for development. Two of these include bilateral coordination and crossing midline.

Bilateral Coordination - Using both sides of the body together in coordinated movements. Here are some ways to improve bilateral coordination skills with your kids.

Crossing midline - If you were to draw a line down the middle of your body, starting at the head, that is your midline. Every time you cross that line with either side of your body, that is crossing midline. Crossing midline is a skill that children can learn from infancy. Here are 10 Crossing Midline Activities for Kids.

Both of these skills are important for fine motor development and eventually handwriting skills.

If you are looking for some gross motor activity ideas, here are a few...

 

 

-Carrie Roszell, Preschool Teacher

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