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

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Week 4: Movement and learning


Movement is vital for children – it is ‘central to young children’s learning’ (Bilton, 2004, p. 92). As you have learned so far in this course, children need the right environment and supportive adults to help them develop both gross and fine motor skills as they grow and learn. This week you will explore in more detail the links between children moving and children learning.

Five children walking hand in hand on grass outside. There are two other children behind them
Figure 1

In Week 3 you saw that there are typical sequences of movements for children from birth to 5 years old and key milestones you can look out for. At the same time, it is important to consider every child as unique and understand that they develop in their own way and their own time.

This week you will continue to see that it is not appropriate to just focus on one area of a child’s development but that instead you need to consider how all areas of development are interlinked so that each one impacts on the other. In the context of young children this means that if you are talking about what they are doing with their bodies you must also consider the impact on their brain (cognitive development) and vice versa.

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • describe the holistic nature of children’s development
  • explain the impact a child’s environment has on their holistic development
  • identify the importance of practitioner/parental knowledge in supporting young children’s physical development
  • identify aspects of physical development in young children’s everyday activity
  • discuss how physical development contributes to all areas of learning.