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

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4 Summary of Week 1

In this first week, you have learned how to describe the relationship between young children’s growth and their physical development. You have identified the factors that may support or compromise children’s growth and physical development. And you are now able to identify and record the available mechanisms and personnel that can support children’s growth and physical development.

Top tips for children’s growth

  • Check frequently that the feet of Babygros are not getting too tight – babies need to be able to push off their feet as they begin to crawl – if their feet are all scrunched up they can’t do this.
  • Also check that children are wearing the right sized shoes – at any one time around 26% of children are not (Manners, 2019) – and this will have a significant impact on their balance, coordination and agility – so safety becomes a serious issue. There is no need for children to wear shoes during their first year.
  • Always be aware of the language you use when talking about children’s growth – they will pick up on anything negative and the effect may be long-lasting, so expressions like a bit chubbywell-coveredshrimpy and twiglet legs should be avoided – and look out for any negative or unpleasant expressions they may be using amongst themselves.

Top tips for children’s physical development

  • Remember that the physical development of all children is unique, individual and of profound importance to them.
  • Physical development is often ‘spikey’ – meaning that not all skills will develop at the same time or in the same order. Some children can cycle easily but struggle with catching a ball or are competent swimmers but not confident climbers. Some cannot bat very well but are fluent, fast runners.
  • Regressions and plateaus in skill acquisition are as important as progressions; children need ample time to reflect, discuss, practise in private and observe others before navigating the next level of a new skill.
  • Progress may often pop up in unexpected developmental domains. Children may make new friendships with others who share the same level of skill and interest. They may start to use the language of movement in different contexts and make connections between movement as seen in pictures, poems, stories or sculpture.


  • Reflect on the following questions:

    • How will you use this information to support your relationships with children?
    • How may this information positively inform your practice?
    • What specific points will you pass on to others and why?

We hope you have enjoyed the first week of this course. Each week you will learn more about how children’s physical development, health and wellbeing are linked, and how you can best support children to move more so their life chances are maximised and they reach their full potential.

You can now go to Week 2 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .