Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Developing Locomotive Skills in Preschool Children

by a contributor (Teresa Cheong from Lifebridges Communications)

Movement is critical for a child’s physical and psychological growth. Of the three fundamental movement skills, locomotor skills are the most basic and first to be developed. 

What are locomotor skills?

Locomotor skills are fundamental movement skills that enable a child to move from one place to another. Through play, fun and coaching, a child learns gross motor skills such as walking, running, jumping, hopping, leaping, side-sliding, galloping and skipping. 

Why are locomotor skills important for preschool children?

Locomotor skills form the building blocks of mobility and co-ordination. Start gradually with walking (the easiest) and steadily advance to skipping (the most difficult).

Preschool children with good locomotor skills will develop higher levels of physical activity than those with poorly formed locomotor skills.

Locomotor skills lay the foundation for learning more complex and specialised movement skills during adolescence and adulthood. These include learning complex sports and physical recreational activities.

Running is a key locomotor skill

Development of locomotor skills by age

Preschool children usually develop locomotor skills in a predictable sequential pattern. Compare your child’s locomotor skills’ development against this checklist (Note: this is a suggested checklist culled from research. Children develop at different speeds, some needing more time than others):

By Age One

Is your child able to crawl, push himself or herself to sit, stand for a short while, and walk (though unsteadily) with some support?

By Age Two

Is your child able to walk independently, run, hop and jump?

By Age Three 

Is your preschooler able to perform these locomotor skills?

Walk up and down the flight of stairs using railings

Climb ladders 

Run easily, even on toes 

Jump off steps and sofas

By Age Four 

Is your preschooler able to do all the above and perform these additional locomotor skills?

Gallop on one preferred leg

Hop forward

Throw ball overhead and catch a ball

Kick a ball

Balance on one foot for up to five seconds

By Age Five

Is your child able to perform to do all of the above and these additional locomotor skills?

Run through an obstacle course avoiding objects

Skip forward

Jump a distance of over two feet 

Balance steadily on one foot for at least 10 seconds

Ride a bicycle

Climb stairs independently

Gallop on either leg 

Side sliding

If you would like your child to learn such skills in a safe, non-competitive environment, why not enrol your child in a structured physical movement programme that teaches these fundamental skills in a sequential manner and in a supportive environment?

Learn the fun way with Ready Steady Go Kids!

For more information, you can also email Ready Steady Go Kids to ask about a trial lesson for your child.


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