Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Developing Fundamental Movement Skills in Singapore Children

by a contributor (Teresa Cheong from Lifebridges Communications)

Developing fundamental movements skills is good for a young child’s brain. Physical exercise makes young brains plastic and ready to take on new information.

At the physiological level, physical exercise turns on the prefrontal cortex, makes learning, thinking and memorizing faster. It also triggers new neural connections, enabling the brain to absorb more information. Exercise boostschildren’s brain development

Many parents in Singapore assume children will naturally know how to run, throw, jump and catch, but experts say this is not true. For young children, aged 2.5 to 6, fundamental movement skills must first be taught.

How kids run, throw, jump and 
catch is also a learning process
image from / Cathy Yeulet

What are fundamental movement skills

Children develop gross motor skills which are fundamental movement skills related to large muscle groups such as the arms, legs, feet and the entire body first - before developing fine motor skills. Fine motor skills involve learning how to use the hands and fingers for small movements such as writing and playing an instrument.

Helping your child develop gross motor skills between age 3 and 5 will lay a solid foundation for future physical dexterity and fitness.

Gross motor skills include:

· Locomotor skills: running, hopping, galloping, skipping, leaping

· Balance skills: movements such as bending, twisting, turning and stopping where the body remains in place but moves around its horizontal and vertical axes.

· Manipulative or ball skills: catching, throwing, kicking, striking, bouncing, underarm roll

Best time to learn fundamental movement skills

Early childhood is the best time to learn fundamental movement skills because:

-  Young children are keen learners. They enjoy learning how to move, control their bodies and coordinate their physical movements.

-  Young children are developing their thinking abilities, sense of initiative and autonomy.

-  These physical skills will boost a child’s confidence to participate in more complex sports and physical activities in the future.

Its best to start young!

Age-appropriate fundamental movement skills

Young children develop fundamental movement skills in stages. Ready Steady Go Kids – an Australian-based preschool exercise programme offers an age-appropriate physical exercise and multi-sport programme for preschoolers in Singapore.

Stage 1:

Ready group (2.5 to 3 years)

Emphasis is on learning gross motor skills and listening skills. At this stage, your child will learn how to concentrate and listen, follow directions, take turns and participate.

Stage 2:

Steady group (3 to 4 years)

Greater focus on developing gross motor skills (through locomotor and non-locomotor activities). Your child also begins to learn fine motor skills such as hand-eye and foot-eye activities, balance and posture.

Stage 3:

Go group (4 to 6 years)

Refining of physical movement skills learnt in previous stages - and preparing your child to actively participate in a variety of sports in primary school and beyond.

Find out more at ReadySteady Go Kids.

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