This is how children gain control of their bodies and how children learn about keeping themselves active and healthy and how they learn to use equipment and materials successfully and safely. It provides children with the abilities they need to explore and interact with the world around them. Early childhood is the ideal time for children to develop healthy lifestyles, attitudes and behaviours. For young children, daily physical activity is not only essential for healthy growth and development; it also lays a foundation for a lifetime of health through active living.
A young child’s physical growth first begins as muscles gain strength and children gradually develop co-ordination. Gross Motor Skills relate to the movement of the large muscles in the body such as arm and leg muscles and the child’s general ability to move around and use the various parts of their body.
A child needs to be able to make movements that span the entire length of their body.
Fine Motor Skills relate to the small muscles in the body such as in the hands. It is important that children develop their gross motor skills before experimenting with fine motor skills.
At Selly Oak Nursery School we facilitate Physical Development at all times of the day, in every area of the Nursery both inside and outside. We encourage our children to explore and experiment with their bodies and to ‘take risks’. In line with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum we provide the following for our children:-
- plan opportunities for children to tackle a range of levels and surfaces, including flat and hilly ground, grass, pebbles, concrete, smooth floors and carpets
- provide a wide range of mark making resources and activities both indoors and outdoors
- provide CD and tape players, scarves, streamers, musical instruments so that children can respond to music
- plan activities that involve moving in different ways, using different parts of the body, using different speeds, stopping, balancing and negotiating space
- provide a range of large play equipment that can be used in different ways
- provide opportunities for energetic play daily
- provide large portable equipment that children can move about safely and co-operatively to create their own structures
- provide small world toys, construction sets of different sizes, properties and textures and threading so children can practice, twisting, pushing, slotting, magnetism
- teach children the skills of how to use tools and materials effectively and safely allowing them time to revisit, consolidate and challenge themselves further
- create opportunities to move towards independence with toileting, hand washing, feeding, dressing and undressing
- provide cosy places where children can rest quietly if they need to
- promote healthy eating through snacks offered and daily lunch time menus
- encourage children to talk about how their bodies feel, begin to recognize when their heart is beating faster, they are out of breath, hungry and thirsty
- provide a variety of large and small equipment; cones, balls, hoops, bean bags, steps etc. so children can practice rolling, target throwing, kicking and catching
- provide activities that support manipulative skills; play dough, clay, cooking, painting