Keep ‘Em Moving! The importance of movement in the development of the young child
Did you know that it is really important in development for kids to move – to creep, crawl, walk, run, jump, skip, hop, ride a bike, swing a hula hoop, and more?
The education jargon calls it gross motor activity. It is important for children to master actions that fall into this category so they may be successful in their daily activities in school. By having control over their bodies, they will become capable of moving through crowded walkways, or sitting in a chair. Eventually, the gross motor activity will lead to development of fine motor activity which will allow them to hold a pencil, crayon, marker or other tool. It will also allow them to have more self-control over their body. Additionally, movement helps kids avoid the onslaught of childhood obesity which is running rampant in our society
Motor activity is helpful for important growth issues, one of which is balance. Some of our playground equipment has changed over the years to eliminate some of the items which required more strength and varied kinds of movement. There seems to be an elimination of see-saws and swings at some playgrounds. When I was a child, there was always a merry-go-round that could hold several children that was powered by running and jumping on so you could spin around. I don’t think I’ve seen one of those in years. Balance is associated with vestibular stimulation which happens when you spin. We are eliminating items that are good for kids’ development because maybe there’s a slight possibility that someone may be hurt on a piece of equipment.
Doing creative movement in the classroom is a wonderful way to increase motor activity and stimulate the brain while also stimulating the imagination of children. Creativity will happen for young children when they are able to move and express themselves with their whole bodies. Movement is equipping them as active, thinking, creative young people who will be more successful in school.
Much of this will impact readiness for preschool and kindergarten. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here is a good article about expectations for school readiness.
PSA values the importance of outside play and movement in and out of the classroom in the educational curriculum across all ages.
We hope you are able to have fun moving with your child this week.