Previous research undertaken at Loughborough University revealed many four-year-olds are not physically ready to start school with 30% of 45 Foundation Stage children found to be ‘of concern’ and almost 90% demonstrating some degree of movement difficulty.
Physical development involves developing control of muscles and physical coordination and it is the primary function in all other life skills. It enables children to complete simple tasks such as sitting still, holding a pencil, putting on shoes and reading – all skills essential for school.
Dr Janine Coates, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) hopes the Early Movers website, launched today, will help parents and early year practitioners ensure children are ‘school ready’ by providing guidance and activity ideas to aid with the physical development of babies and young children.
The website, which Dr Coates designed alongside early years practitioners, external consultants, Loughborough Campus Nursery and SSEHS academics, provides information on some of the core principles underpinning physical development in children.
It is split into two key sections: ‘Core Skills’ and ‘Activities’. The first section breaks down core skills into categories – such as rolling, balancing and catching – and gives examples of the movements that would be expected to be seen emerging in babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers.
It aims to provide those looking after children with the tools to help youngsters progress from the building blocks of each core skill to simple and advanced levels.