Why is physical development so important?
When children get to know their bodies and what they are capable of doing, they can explore their environment and make appropriate decisions that enable them to develop confidence and creativity in a wide range of physical situations. Early and often movement opportunities encourage kids to become life-long movers. All children are unique and with individual differences determined by their culture, beliefs and expectations within the context of the home and wider environment. At MECS Kinder we aim to provide high quality opportunities for physical activity to promote physical development.
This year the Kinder team have participated in a MOVERS research program being run by University of Wollongong. This has seen our kinder team participating in professional development sessions and team meeting discussions that help us rate and improve ways that we offer physical movement to our kinder children. The organisers of the program visited us earlier this year and we were delighted that they rated us very high in terms of quality of movement opportunities that we offer at kinder. So, we asked ourselves, ‘how can we improve on this?’ and ‘what are the benefits of a very high-quality program with many opportunities for movement?’
Physical development is linked to all areas of learning; language and communication, self-regulation, cognitive development and social and emotional development. This is because children learn through their bodies first. All these areas of development are linked and contribute to children reaching important milestones, which in turn enables them to be the best version of themselves!
There is an increasing awareness of the importance of children’s engagement in physical movement from the viewpoint of brain development and in terms of young children’s health and well-being. Children benefit when they re-visit movement patterns such as tummy crawling, crawling on hands and knees and rolling over and over, as these are precursors to later movements that involve balance, walking and running. Cross patterning movements that come from crawling activities help children later on when they are learning to read and write. Other benefits include improvements in concentration, regulation, social interaction and language, bone and muscle strength and resilience building.
We have been learning about determining school readiness in terms of balance, posture and coordination as these physical foundations for learning ensure children are equipped to deal with the demands of the more formal classroom in Foundation. The recommended time children should spend moving is 15 minutes per hour!
The MOVERS program has offered us a scale and a means to rate the quality of movement we offer at our kindergarten. During work break Cherie Izzard, one of our 4/5 kindergarten teachers, led the team in some movement opportunities (very welcome after sitting through an online conference - wonderful, however offered no movement) – see the photos!
Finally we considered this passage; “The Lord God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15. God's intention for us is to move, play, work, grow and learn!