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

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7 Movement and learning in early development

If you think back to your learning in Week 3 you will recall the idea of ‘milestones’ in physical development. Below is a reminder of these, starting with very young children, in the first year of their life.

Milestones for children in their first year of life
Figure 5 Milestones for children in their first year of life

The table below offers suggested ages for certain physical milestones and their links to learning. Remember this is just a guide – each child is an individual and so develops at their own pace.

Table 1 Milestones from birth to 14 months
Age Physical milestone Link to learning (cognition)
6 weeks Hold head upright whilst in a prone position Smiles at mum’s voice
2 months Roll from back onto side Developing attention and focus
3 months Reach for objects Babbles to indicate speech development
5–7 months Sit without support Recognises name
9–14 months Stand without support Can understand simple instructions
8–12 months Walk with support Imitates speech – may say one or two words
12 months Use of pincer grasp Copies adults
12–14 months Walk alone Increases vocabulary
Adapted from Keenan and Evans (2009). Copyright © Thomas Keenan and Subhadra Evans 2009

If you are interested to find out more about further milestones from birth to adulthood this pdf Physical and Cognitive Developmental Milestones [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  is a useful resource. It demonstrates how physical movements are helping the child to learn. (Use Ctrl + click on the link to open in a new window.)