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Supporting physical development in early childhood
Supporting physical development in early childhood

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1.2 Years 3–5

Providing a range of enjoyable daily opportunities for children to move freely from birth onwards plays a vital role in supporting their smooth growth and overall development.

Julia explains in Audio 2 how parents and carers should support babies and young children to engage in movement play throughout the early years.

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Audio 2
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Most children between 3–4 years are top heavy, small chested, have rounded tummies and short legs. As they mature their necks will lengthen, chests enlarge, shoulders broaden and tummies flatten as core strength develops.

This is the time when issues of overweight and obesity can emerge. According to the National Child Measurement Programme, in 2021/2022, 10.1% of reception age children (age 4–5) were obese, while a further 12.1% were overweight. At age 10–11 (year 6), 23.4% were obese and 14.3% overweight (NHS Digital, 2022).

You will now explore some factors that best support or compromise children’s growth.