Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2 Physical development

Physical development is closely related to growth, but it also includes all body senses and systems, reflexes and the gaining of a wide range of physical skills.

A child on a balance bike
Figure 4

Physical development is all about overall and progressive changes in the body, meaning that as children become more confident and competent movers they can enjoy wider and ever more challenging opportunities to be physically active.

Physical development is also described as ‘structural’, ‘functional’ and ‘organisational’ – which means that as their skills develop, they can use them in a variety of situations and environments – becoming increasingly aware of how to successfully manage risk and adventure.

Physical development is ‘qualitative’ in nature, meaning that as children get stronger and more able you will see the transition from an emerging skill like walking – to a mature and fluent version with time and practice.

As children develop physically, they are increasingly able to make the right decisions for themselves and choose the correct movements needed for specific tasks. They are also able to think about, discuss and describe their physical abilities: what they think they are good at, not so good at, what their friends, are good at, and how they think they could improve their skills.