The Importance of Developing Movement in our Young Learners.

As educators, we understand the importance of fostering holistic development in our young learners. From academic skills to social-emotional well-being, we strive to provide a comprehensive foundation for their future success. However, one aspect that often gets overlooked in the classroom but is absolutely crucial is the development of movement skills in young children.

Between the ages of 3 and 6, children are in a critical period of growth and development. Their brains are rapidly expanding, and they are forming the foundational skills that will shape their future abilities and behaviours. It is during this time that the promotion of movement skills becomes paramount, as it not only contributes to physical health but also lays the groundwork for cognitive, social, and emotional well-being.

The body gives priority to movement. If our tamariki (children) do not have balance, core strength, fine or gross motor skills, the brain has to concentrate on these, leaving little room for higher-order thinking and learning. Movement skills need to become automatic to reduce the possibility of cognitive overload.

Consider core body control, for instance. If a child lacks muscle control and finds it hard to sit still or focus for extended periods, it becomes challenging for them to engage in learning tasks effectively. Until a child has full control of their balance, their ability to focus and concentrate will be in conflict with their brain’s need for vestibular (balance) stimulation.

Movement foundation skills, including core strength, balance, crossing the midline, fine motor skills, and spatial perception, play a crucial role in a child’s overall development. These skills form the basis for various physical and cognitive activities and contribute to the child’s readiness for academic and everyday tasks.

The development of movement skills in young children is essential for their physical health and well-being. Engaging in various physical activities helps strengthen muscles, improve coordination, and enhance balance and flexibility. From running and jumping to climbing and throwing, each movement skill learned builds upon the last.

The acquisition of movement skills plays a significant role in cognitive development. Research has shown that physical activity stimulates the brain, leading to increased cognitive function and academic performance. When children engage in activities that require coordination and motor skills, they are also developing neural pathways that support learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

It’s essential to recognize that children develop at different rates and may have diverse needs when it comes to movement skills development. Some children may require additional support or modifications to fully participate in physical activities. As educators, it’s our responsibility to create inclusive environments where all children feel supported and encouraged to explore and develop their movement skills.

Incorporating movement into the classroom is not just about physical activity; it’s about nurturing the whole child and supporting their overall development. By prioritizing movement skills alongside academic learning, we can help our young learners thrive in all areas of development, setting them up for success now and in the future.

Our next blog will get into the nitty gritty of coordination, balance, core strength, gross and fine motor skills.